Obama's drone speech welcomed in Pakistan, Yemen

President Barack Obama talks about national security, Thursday, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. Declaring America at a "crossroads" in the fight against terrorism, the president revealed clearer guidelines for the use of deadly drone strikes, including more control by the U.S. military, while leaving key details of the controversial program secret. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — President Barack Obama's speech on the use of drones to kill Islamic militants was well-received in two countries most affected by the strikes — Pakistan and Yemen — but criticism of the U.S. policy remains strong.

Obama cast the drone program as crucial to U.S. counterterrorism efforts, though he announced more restrictive rules governing the attacks. His advisers said these would effectively limit future use of drones.

Pakistani officials and analysts said Friday that Obama addressed some of Islamabad's concerns, which could help improve relations. But Pakistan still demands the strikes end entirely, saying they violate Pakistan's sovereignty.

A Yemeni intelligence official says drone strikes are effective against al-Qaida and have thwarted plans to kidnap diplomats and foreigners. The official spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to talk to media.