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France, Britain suspend embassy work in Yemen

Britain and France have pulled embassy staff out of Yemen and suspended work at their embassies due to fears over the security situation, officials said Wednesday.

French nationals were asked Wednesday to leave Yemen as “soon as possible.”

“Given the recent political developments and for reasons of security, the embassy invites you to leave Yemen temporarily, as soon as possible, by taking commercial flights at your convenience,” said the French embassy in Sanaa.

“This embassy will close, temporarily and until further notice, from February 13, 2015,” added the mission on its website.

The move comes after the U.S. said it was closing its embassy indefinitely and evacuating staff after a Shiite Muslim militia which took power last year warned against attempts to destabilize the country.

Britain’s Foreign Office in London said operations at its embassy had been suspended “temporarily.”

“The security situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate over recent days,” Tobias Ellwood, the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for the Middle East, said.

“Regrettably we now judge that our embassy staff and premises are at increased risk.

“We have therefore decided to withdraw diplomatic staff and temporarily suspend the operations of the British Embassy in Sanaa.
“Our ambassador and diplomatic staff have left Yemen this morning and will return to the UK.”

Yemen has been unstable since longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in 2012 after a year-long popular uprising.
It is battling an Al-Qaeda insurgency and facing a separatist movement in the south.

Source: Al Arabiya News

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