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UN chief appeals for restraint amid further violent clashes in Yemen

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for restraint after more violent clashes during protests in the Yemeni capital reportedly left 12 people dead and several hundred wounded.

The clashes that erupted yesterday during demonstrations in Sana’a are the latest incident in the unrest that has gripped the country since February. The violence in Yemen, especially the use of force by Government forces against peaceful demonstrators, has drawn repeated criticism from senior UN officials, including Mr. Ban and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson today, Mr. Ban appealed to all concerned to “exercise utmost restraint and desist from provocative acts,” and reiterated his call on authorities to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians.

“The Secretary-General emphasizes that broadly inclusive political dialogue and mutual understanding are critically important for overcoming the current crisis and preserving the country’s unity and integrity,” the statement added.

Mr. Ban also welcomed the efforts being made to promote “a peaceful transition that will be acceptable to all.”

The Government and opposition reportedly agreed earlier this week to sign a deal under which President Ali Abdullah Saleh would step down within 30 days.

The political turmoil in Yemen is part of a wider movement for democracy across the Middle East and North Africa that began earlier this year, and which has already toppled long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to open conflict in Libya.

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