Britain pulls staff out of Yemen

26th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Thursday it was reducing staffing levels in its Yemen embassy as the security situation deteriorated.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said four staff were being temporarily withdrawn. The Foreign Office would not give any figures on how many staff are left, citing security reasons.

"In light of the deteriorating situation, I have today decided to reduce the staffing of our embassy to a level sufficient only to work on the most pressing and vital British national interests in Yemen, by temporarily removing four members of our staff," Hague said.

"I am appalled by the reports of yet more deaths in Sanaa. I absolutely condemn this latest violence."

He "urgently" called on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign an agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council "allowing for a peaceful transition and preventing further bloodshed".

He urged any remaining British nationals to leave Yemen.

Security forces in the Yemeni capital battled heavily armed supporters of the country's most powerful tribal leader on Thursday. Hours of clashes late Wednesday and overnight saw at least 24 people killed.

© 2011 AFP

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