US concerns mount over Sudan, Yemen

By the Associated Press | June 1, 2011 | 1:42 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is dispatching a top national security aide to the Persian Gulf and Sudan as U.S. concerns mount over increasing violence in Yemen and the future of Sudan's north-south peace agreement.

The White House said Wednesday that Obama's Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, will visit Sudan's capital of Khartoum this week to discuss deteriorating security conditions around the disputed Sudanese town of Abyei (ab-YAY'). Brennan will then travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks with officials there about Yemen.

Sudanese troops have occupied Abyei, a flashpoint town between north and south Sudan. South Sudan is to secede from the north next month. In Yemen, violence has intensified as President Ali Abdullah Saleh (AH'-lee ahb-DUH'-luh sah-LEH') has reneged on agreements to relinquish power.