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Yemen Crisis: U.S., U.K. and France to Close Embassies in Sanaa

All embassy staff gave been moved out of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa after rebel Houthis forced the collapse of the previous government.
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The U.S., U.K. and France moved to close their embassies in Yemen and urged their citizens to leave the country amid spiraling security fears over the collapse of the country's government.

Yemen's U.S.-backed president, prime minister and cabinet abruptly resigned last month after Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sanaa.

While the U.S. had kept diplomatic staff on duty in Sanaa and on Monday said it had no plans to close the embassy, the State Department late Tuesday said it was withdrawing personnel and temporarily closing the station.

"Recent unilateral actions disrupted the political transition process in Yemen, creating the risk that renewed violence would threaten Yemenis and the diplomatic community in Sana’a," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. "We will explore options for a return to Sana’a when the situation on the ground improves."

The British Foreign Office shortly followed suit, saying that its ambassador and diplomatic staff have left Yemen and urging U.K. nationals still in the country to leave "immediately."

"The security situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate over recent days," it said in a statement. "Regrettably we now judge that our Embassy staff and premises are at increased risk."

France said it would temporarily shut down its embassy on Friday and asked its citizens in Yemen to leave the country without delay, on commercial flight.



— Cassandra Vinograd and Phil Helsel