News24

Britain appalled by Yemen violence

2011-04-05 19:46

London - British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday he was "appalled" by the bloodshed in Yemen and condemned the "indiscriminate violence" of security forces.

Western pressure mounted on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down as at least 24 people were killed in as many hours and Gulf countries sought to mediate a deal with the opposition.

Hague said in a statement: "I condemn the Yemeni security forces' indiscriminate violence against demonstrators in Taiz, Hodeida and Sana'a.

"President Saleh promised in early March to maintain maximum restraint in the use of the Yemeni security forces in controlling peaceful demonstrations and we strongly urge him to keep that promise.

"As we have said before, the government of Yemen should act urgently to respond to the legitimate demands of the Yemeni people for political change and move towards implementing much-needed reform.

"A lengthy transition heightens the risk of accelerating political and economic instability and further needless violence.

"President Saleh should make clear he is ready to engage now in an inclusive process of political transition."

Both the president's General People's Congress party and the opposition coalition Joint Meeting of Parties "should reach urgent agreement on a plan towards free and fair elections", Hague said.