US, France urge Yemen sides to end violence

AFP , Thursday 26 May 2011

International community calls on the Yemen's regime and opposition to stop the violence

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday urged all sides in Yemen's deadly civil unrest "immediately to cease the violence," with France echoing the call.

"We are very troubled by the ongoing clashes" between the security forces of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- whom Western powers have urged to quit -- and supporters of a powerful tribal leader, Clinton said in Paris.

"We call on all sides immediately to cease the violence."

The latest clashes in the Yemeni capital Sanaa late Wednesday and overnight killed at least 24 people.

That brought to at least 68 the number killed since Monday, according to an AFP tally based on reports by medics, the government and tribal sources.

Washington has ordered what it termed "non-emergency" embassy staff to leave the country.

"The situation is very volatile. We're monitoring it closely," Clinton said in Paris, where she had attended a development meeting at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"We continue to support a unified and stable Yemen and continue to support the departure of president Saleh," she added.

France added its voice to the condemnation of the violence and Saleh's refusal to agree to a handover.

"We call on the authorities and the other sides in the conflict in the capital to make the fighting cease and protect the population in areas affected by the armed clashes," said French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal.

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