The threat of terrorism from an unstable Yemen will be high on the agenda for Prime Minister David Cameron as he ends a four-day Middle East tour in neighbouring Oman.
Mr Cameron flew into the Gulf state on Wednesday night amid continued unrest across the wider region and with the world’s eyes focused on the chaos engulfing Libya.
He said there was “no higher priority” for the UK than rescuing Britons stranded amid the brutal repression of opponents to Muammar Gaddafi’s Tripoli regime.
But while strongly condemning the actions of the Libyan president, he rejected calls for immediate sanctions against the country, insisting there was “still time” for Mr Gaddafi to end his violent resistance.
Mr Cameron met with Omani Sultan Qaboos Bin Said last night in part to thank the country for its key logistical role as a “bridge” for UK armed forces deploying to Afghanistan.
In a move designed to highlight his focus on the younger generation who have led successful popular protests, he will take part in an online question and answer event on YouTube.
Yemen is one of several countries facing mass calls for political reform – and was the source of last year’s cargo bomb.
Its president Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to end his 35-year rule in 2013 but his concession has failed to quell the protests.
Seven MPs from his ruling GPC party resigned on Wednesday, calling on him to quit and condemning violence towards demonstrators.
Clashes with pro-government civilians near a university left at least one student dead, with thousands more gathering nearby in the hope of hearing the president had quit.