U.S. Embassy in Yemen to Close to the Public Amid Turmoil

A general view of the U.S. embassy compound in Sanaa
A general view of the U.S. embassy compound in Sanaa / Reuters
• January 26, 2015 12:26 pm


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is closing its embassy in Yemen to the public until further notice amid political turmoil after the government resigned under pressure from the Houthi rebel movement.

The decision was made "out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting the embassy," a statement issued by the embassy said.

Earlier, U.S. officials said they had reduced staff at the embassy, which is in the capital Sana'a.

Last week, the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi collapsed after it was confronted by the Iranian-allied armed Houthis. This deprived Washington of a staunch ally in its campaign against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The situation on the ground has remained fluid and chaotic, other U.S. officials have said.

The White House has said it is committed to continuing its close cooperation with Yemen against the virulent al Qaeda group and at least some operations appeared to be continuing.

Local officials said a suspected U.S. drone had attacked a car in Yemen's eastern Marib province on Monday, killing three suspected al Qaeda militants.

One U.S. security official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters in Washington the most likely reason the Embassy was closed to the public was that was surrounded by "chaos."

In its statement, the U.S. embassy said it was "unable to provide routine consular services and will have very limited ability to assist with emergency cases involving U.S. citizens" given the government resignations and "the ongoing security concerns."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Storey and David Gregorio)

Published under: Yemen