Britain 'appalled' by Yemen violence
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said 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 least 24 people were killed in as many hours and Gulf states sought to mediate a deal with the opposition.
"I am appalled by the reports of further deaths and casualties in Yemen," Hague said in a statement.
"I condemn the Yemeni security forces' indiscriminate violence against demonstrators in Taiz, Hodeida and Sanaa.
"In early March, President Saleh promised to maintain maximum restraint in the use of the Yemeni security forces in controlling peaceful demonstrations. 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 roadmap towards free and fair elections", Hague said.
© 2011 AFP