London pulls out all but 'small core' of Yemen embassy staff

24th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Wednesday it was withdrawing all but a "small core" of staff from its embassy in Sanaa with violence expected in the Yemen capital over the next few days.

A Foreign Office statement said that "part of the British embassy team in Sanaa" was being temporarily withdrawn with immediate effect due to a "rapid deterioration in the security situation."

It said a "small core of staff" would remain in the city, which is gearing up for protests and likely violence on Friday.

Britain "strongly urged" any nationals still in the Yemen capital to leave by commercial means, warning it would be "very difficult" to provide any further consular support in the event of further unrest.

Yemen's parliament on Wednesday approved a state of emergency declared by President Ali Abdullah Saleh despite an appeal from young nationals that it could trigger a new "massacre" aimed at quelling their anti-regime protests.

"We urge all parties in Yemen to exercise the utmost restraint and take all steps necessary to defuse this situation," the Foreign Office statement said.

"It is crucial that all Yemenis play a responsible role in bringing about political and economic reforms that respond to the legitimate demands of the Yemeni people," it added.

In the face of mass protests since January, Saleh has said he would stay in office until his term runs out in 2013 but not run for another term.

© 2011 AFP

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