British foreign secretary holds talks in Yemen

British foreign secretary holds talks in Yemen

British Foreign Secretary William Hague discussed international terrorism and constitutional reform in Yemen at talks with the country's president on Wednesday, dpa reported.

"I have had very good discussions with the president," Hague told reporters after his 30-minute meeting with President Ali Abdullah Saleh at the presidential palace in Sana'a.

"We have discussed issues of political and constitutional reform and the compacting of international terrorism," the British official said.

Promises by Saleh to to carry out political reforms and step down in 2013 have been well received internationally, Prime Minister Ali Mujawar told reporters after the talks.

"There is a big welcome of the president's initiative that came at the right time," he said.

Saleh said last week he would not seek another term after his current one ends in 2013 and promised to postpone parliamentary elections, scheduled for April, until talks with the opposition on reforms into the electoral system are concluded.

"It is a concession the president has put forward for the sake of Yemen, but the opposition has yet to respond," Mujawar said.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the capital Sana'a and several other main cities across Yemen last week to call for Saleh to step down.

Saleh, 68, has been in power since 1978. He was directly elected for the first time in 1999, and re-elected for a second seven-year term in 2006.

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