UK strongly urges Britons to leave Yemen

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Foreign Office strongly urged Britons on Thursday to leave Yemen immediately after what it described as a rapid deterioration in security and likely protests on Friday which might result in violent clashes.

“Given the situation on the ground, it is highly unlikely that the British Government will be able to evacuate British nationals or provide consular assistance in the event of a further breakdown of law and order and increased violent civil disorder,” it said in a statement.

It urged Britons to leave while commercial airlines were still flying.

Dozens of people have been killed in weeks of street protests in the Arabian Peninsula country demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh resign.

Britain has advised against all travel to the country since March 4, and on March 12 urged Britons to leave immediately.

“In light of the rapid deterioration in the security situation in Yemen and likely protests on Friday 1 April which might result in violent clashes, we strongly urge all British nationals to leave the country now,” the statement added.

It called on all parties in Yemen to exercise the “utmost restraint and take all steps necessary to “defuse tension on the ground” and to make urgent progress in implementing political and economic reform.

“The Government of Yemen must take urgent action to build trust with the opposition and with the protesters: without this trust, no agreement can be reached,” the statement said. “The Yemeni people want to see their legitimate demands acknowledged and met and the UK fully supports them in this aspiration.”

(Writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

UK strongly urges Britons to leave Yemen