The United States announced on yesterday that it has reduced the number its embassy personnel in Yemen due to “recent political developments and the changing, unpredictable security situation” in the country.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday: “We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution,” as the situation in Yemen “has become difficult to predict recently”. She did not indicate how many staff members would be recalled.
The statement pointed out that “the embassy did not suspend operations and will continue to operate, albeit with reduced staff”, noting that “the security of our staff is among the highest priorities of the department”.
Psaki pointed out that the US is “continuing to closely monitor developments in Yemen and will calibrate our response as the situation develops”.
She explained that “consular services have not been affected by this temporary reduction in personnel” urging Americans living in Yemen to “limit nonessential travel within the country, be aware of their surroundings whether in their residences or moving about, and make their own contingency emergency plans.”
Last Sunday, the country’s capital, Sanaa, fell into the hands of the militant group Ansar Allah, known in the media as Houthis. They took control of the most vital institutions in particular, the Council of Ministers, the headquarters of the Ministry of Defence and the radio and television building, following weeks of protesting, the Houthi rebels demanded the resignation of the government and for fuel subsidies to be reinstated.
This was in the same day that Yemeni President signed an agreement to end the unrest in the country in the presence of a United Nations envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, representatives of the Houthis and some political forces in Yemen.