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France to close embassy in Yemen after US, UK over security concerns

11 February 2015 13:38

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France has decided to close its embassy in Yemen after a similar move by Britain and the United States over what they call security concerns in the Arab country, where the Ansarullah revolutionaries have taken control of the capital, Sana’a.

The French embassy in Yemen said in a statement on Wednesday that it will be closed from Friday until further notice, calling on all French nationals to leave the country due to “recent political developments and security reasons.”

The personnel of the British embassy as well as the ambassador left the Yemeni capital early on Wednesday, UK Government Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Tobias Elwood said.

“The security situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate over recent days. Regrettably we now judge that our Embassy staff and premises are at increased risk,” Elwood said in a statement posted on the embassy’s website.

“We have therefore decided to withdraw diplomatic staff and temporarily suspend the operations of the British Embassy in Sana’a,” Elwood said.

In a similar move earlier in the day, the US shut its embassy in Yemen, citing security concerns as the reason behind the decision.

“On February 11, 2015, due to the deteriorating security situation in Sanaa, the Department of State suspended embassy operations and US Embassy Sanaa American staff were relocated out of the country,” a State Department travel warning said, adding, “All consular services, routine and/or emergency, have been suspended until further notice.”

US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said on Tuesday that Washington might request the Turkish or Algerian embassies in Sana’a to represent American interests in the country.

Over the past months, al-Qaeda militants have frequently carried out attacks on Yemen’s security forces. The militants have been also engaged in battles with the Ansarullah revolutionaries.

Last week, the Houthi movement dissolved the parliament, following weeks of clashes with government forces.

Ansarullah announced a constitutional declaration on the Transitional National Council, which is expected to replace the country’s parliament.

The declaration added that the Transitional National Council will be set up to elect the presidential council in a bid to end the country’s political deadlock.

In September 2014, Ansarullah fighters gained control of Sana’a, following a four-day battle with army forces loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the half-brother of the country’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Ansarullah revolutionaries say the Yemeni government has been incapable of properly running the affairs of the country and providing security. Before gaining control of the capital, Ansarullah had set a deadline for the political parties to put aside differences and fill the power vacuum, but the deadline was missed without any change in the political scene of the country.

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