GATES: Well, I think -- I think it is a real concern because the most active and, at this point, perhaps the most aggressive branch of al Qaeda -- al Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula operates out of Yemen. And we have had a lot of counterterrorism cooperation from President Saleh and Yemeni Security Services. So if that government collapses or is replaced by one that is dramatically more weak, then I think we'll face some additional challenges out of Yemen. There's no question about it. It's a real problem.
TAPPER: Secretary Clinton, on Pakistan. Pakistan has been trying to block U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the FATA region, it continues to work with terrorists to attack India, it held a U.S. diplomat in its presence for several weeks, as I don't need to tell you. Has this relationship gotten worse in the last six months, U.S. Pakistan?
CLINTON: Well, Jake, it's a very challenging relationship because there have been some -- some problems. We were very appreciative of getting our diplomat out of Pakistan and that took cooperation by the government of Pakistan. We have cooperated very closely together in going after terrorists who pose a threat to both us and the Pakistanis themselves. But it's a -- it's a very difficult relationship because Pakistan is in a hard position trying to figure out how it's going to contend with its own internal extremist threat.
But I think on the other hand, we've also developed good lines of communication, good opportunities for cooperation, but it's something we have to work on every day.
TAPPER: And finally, we've talked a bit about the end of this operation, how it ends. I'm wondering if you can envision the United States supporting a plan where Gadhafi is exiled. Would the U.S. be willing to support Safe Haven and Unity from prosecution and access to funds as a way to end this conflict?
CLINTON: Well, Jake, we are nowhere near that kind of negotiation. I'll be going to London on Tuesday for a conference that the British government is hosting. There will be a number of countries, not only those participating in the -- the enforcement of the resolution, but also those who are pursuing political and other interventions. And the United Nations has a special envoy who will also be actively working with Gadhafi and those around him.
We have sent a clear message that it is time for him to transition out of power. The African Union has now called for a democratic transition. We think that there will be developments along that line in the weeks and months ahead, but I can't sitting here today predict to you exactly how it's going to play out. But we believe that Libya will have a better shot in the future if he departs and leaves power.
TAPPER: All right. Secretaries Clinton, Secretary Gates, thank you so much for joining us.
CLINTON: Thank you. TAPPER, ABC NEWS: And joining me now in their first interview since the attacks on Libya began, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Madam and Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for joining us.
I'll start with you, Secretary Gates. The mission is a no-fly zone and civilian protection but does not include removing Gadhafi from power, even though regimen change is stated U.S. policy. So why not have, as part of the mission, regime change, removing Gadhafi from power?