UK's foreign secretary warns on Mideast peace

UK`s foreign secretary warns on Mideast peace London: British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned on Wednesday that public protests which have swept the Arab world could put the Middle East peace process in jeopardy.

Hague, speaking during a rare trip by a British minister to Yemen, met with president Ali Abdullah Saleh - who has responded to anti-government demonstrations by announcing he won't run for another term in elections scheduled for 2013.

He also met opposition figures as part of a three-day, five country tour of the Middle East and northern Africa, intended to offer British support as nations respond to a noisy public outcry for democracy.

Hague told The Times of London in an interview published today that he feared current protests could hamper already sluggish progress on the Middle East peace process.

"Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region," he was quoted as telling the newspaper.

Hague told The Associated Press in Munich last week that pro-democracy demonstrations would likely lead to a more complex political landscape in the Middle East, urging Israel and the US to accelerate progress on peace talks.

"I hope that it underlines to Israeli leaders the need to do that, because events may complicate still further the politics of the Middle East," Hague said.