US to close Yemen embassy

Worsening security situation in Sanaa causes US to close its embassy in the Yemeni capital.

SANAA, YEMEN (JANUARY 27, 2015) (REUTERS) – The United States is closing its embassy in Yemen, the Arabian peninsula state where a rebel group has seized control of the capital, embassy employees and a U.S. official in Washington said on Tuesday (February 10).

Employees of the embassy in Sanaa said the U.S. mission had been getting rid of documents and weapons and staff had been leaving the capital over the past days with a view of closing down completely by Wednesday.

The ambassador had informed them that Washington may ask the Turkish or Algerian embassies in Sanaa to look after U.S. interests in the country while the embassy was closed.

“The ambassador and the rest of the staff will leave by Wednesday evening,” one employee, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Employees at the British, French and German embassies said their missions had also been getting rid of documents and have given local staff two months’ paid leave. But there was no immediate word on the missions closing down.

The U.S. embassy had reduced its staff after Shi’ite Muslim rebels from the Houthi movement moved against President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi last month, capturing his presidential office and confining him to his private residence.

Hadi and his government subsequently resigned.

On Sunday, the U.S. embassy said on its website it had “suspended all consular services until further notice”, citing the security situation in Sanaa.