Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Yemen's port city of Aden as part of a regional tour and urged parties in the nation's four-year conflict to make greater efforts to secure a lasting peace.
"This is actually the worst humanitarian crisis that we face right now,” Hunt said in comments posted on Twitter. It's "essential” that the opposing sides take the steps needed to follow through on peace talks held in Stockholm in December, he added.
Hunt met with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Saeed Al Khanbashi and Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani, as well as aid workers.
Earlier he visited President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Houthi spokesman Mohamed Abdel Salem in Muscat, Oman, the U.K.'s Foreign & Commonwealth Office said in a statement.
Britain's foreign secretary is waring of a collapse of peace deals in Yemen, saying that "we are now in the last chance saloon."
Jeremy Hunt made his comments on Sunday during a visit to the southern city of Aden, the first to Yemen by a Western foreign minister since the start of the conflict in 2015.
He says the peace process in Yemen "could be dead within weeks if we do not see both sides sticking to their commitments in Stockholm."
The conflict, seen as a proxy battle for regional influence, has ravaged a country already struggling with deep poverty and dysfunction. Thousands of civilians have been killed with millions more either fleeing or forced from their homes.
Hunt is the first British foreign minister to visit the country since 1996, his department said, adding that the trip was to show the U.K.'s support for the government of Yemen and for United Nations efforts to secure peace.
"People in Yemen are on the brink of starvation and none of the parties really want a return to hostilities - so now is the time to take a deep breath, put aside the anger and mistrust after four years of terrible fighting and take the risks that are always necessary at the start of any peace process,” Hunt said in the statement.
Hunt in Saudi Arabia
Hunt has also held talks Saturday with his Saudi counterpart in Riyadh, Saudi foreign minister of state Adel Al Jubeir and Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is based in Riyadh.
The talks focused on journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder and the fragile truce in the flashpoint Yemeni city of Hodeida.
Hunt also met Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al Assafon on his Gulf tour, which includes stopovers in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
"Our strategic partnership (with) Saudi Arabia helps us to keep the UK safe, to make progress on diplomatic priorities like Yemen, and to discuss frankly issues of concern," Hunt said.
Hunt complained, however, about slow implementation of a ceasefire deal in rebel-held Hodeida, which was agreed in Sweden in December between the Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebels.
"Progress fragile but within sight for UN-backed peace talks on Yemen, as I discussed with Yemeni President Hadi in Riyadh today," Hunt tweeted
"There is a lack of trust and it is taking too long to implement the Stockholm (deal) but no one has a better plan so we need to get going and end the crisis."
Hunt visit to UAE
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has also stopped in Abu dhabi and met with Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, they discussed prospects for further advancing cooperation between the UAE and UK.
In the meeting, which was attended by Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, a discussion about the latest regional and international developments took place, with special emphasis on the situation in Yemen.