(WASHINGTON) -- Following the apparent execution of a Japanese hostage this weekend by ISIS, President Barack Obama's chief of staff said Sunday the U.S. is working aggressively to free the remaining Japanese hostage as well as a female American hostage held by the radical Islamic group.
"Well, the president had a good talk overnight, our time here, with [Japanese] Prime Minister Abe, underscoring our continued support for and partnership with the Japanese, they [are] making this huge investment of, you know, halfway around the world, like we are, in Iraq and Syria against ISIS," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on This Week.
"And as it relates to our hostages, we are obviously continuing to work those matters very, very aggressively. We are sparing no expense and sparing no effort, both in trying to make sure that we know where they are and make sure that we're prepared to do anything we must to try to get them home," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
The president's chief of staff also addressed the chaos that engulfed the country of Yemen in recent days, after the country's president and cabinet resigned under pressure from Houthis rebels who had seized the country's capital.
The power struggle has thrown U.S. counter-terrorism strategy against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula into doubt, with McDonough saying it "remains to be seen" if the Houthi forces will have the same commitment to working with the U.S. to fight al Qaeda forces in Yemen.
"That remains to be seen. And what the president also said today is that we want to see this resolved through a political process that's transparent, that includes all the actors in the country, mindful of the fact that AQAP lives in these chaotic situations," McDonough said.
"So I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. I am going to say to the parties on the ground that they have to resolve this transparently, peacefully, politically. And we will, while they're doing that, continue to make sure that we're focused on the threats to us and to our people," McDonough added.
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