US hails Yemen leader's military shake-up

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is congratulating the president of Yemen for reshuffling the top echelons of country's military and security services.

The State Department said Thursday that the changes are an "important step" in Yemen's transition to democracy and returning it to stability. It urged the government to swiftly implement the presidential decrees that announced the shake-up late Wednesday.

The steps remove the former president's son and nephews from powerful national security posts where they had been accused of obstructing the U.S.-backed government's attempts to reform and fight an active al-Qaida branch.

The U.S. had expressed concern that some in the military have been taking advantage of their positions for personal gain to interfere in the country's transition, since regime change threatens their personal interests.

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