Britain offers Saudis support over Yemen strikes

British Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on March 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

London (AFP) - Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday offered Britain's "firm political support" to Saudi Arabia over its air strikes on rebel camps in Yemen.

Cameron and Saudi Arabia's King Salman spoke for the first time since the monarch came to the throne in January, with the prime minister giving his clear backing to the action.

Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed Huthi rebel camps in Yemen on Friday in a second day of strikes as embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi arrived in Egypt for talks with Arab allies.

"The prime minister emphasised the UK's firm political support for the Saudi action in Yemen, noting that it was right to do everything possible to deter Huthi aggression, to support President Hadi and his legitimate government," said a spokeswoman for Cameron's Downing Street office.

"They both expressed concern that Huthi action would lead to an escalation in terrorism and extremism" enabling Al-Qaeda and Islamic State jihadists a foothold in Yemen, which would pose a "serious threat to both our nations".

"He reiterated that Britain will do all it can to support the Saudis to stop that from happening and offered to provide further UK support," which the monarch welcomed.

Cameron also urged King Salman to put "strong non-military pressure" on the Huthis, former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh -- suspected of being allied with the rebels -- and Iran "to pull back from the brink and engage in the political process in good faith".

The spokeswoman added: "Finally, the prime minister reassured his majesty that while negotiations on Iran's nuclear capabilities are proceeding, the UK would never agree a deal that did not stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon."