Obama warns against political disruption in Yemen

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has issued an executive order allowing sanctions to be levied against individuals and entities who seek to undermine the political transition in Yemen.

The order allows the Treasury Department to freeze the U.S.-based assets of those who the White House says "threaten the peace, security and stability" of Yemen. The order is essentially a warning against future action and does not immediately levy any penalties against specific people or organizations.

The White House says Obama took the step because he believes the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people cannot be addressed if political progress there stalls. Yemen is a key counterterrorism partner for the U.S. and officials fear that political instability there will provide an opening for al-Qaida affiliated terror groups to expand their influence.