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Britain withdrawing diplomatic staff from Yemen

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Houthi fighters guard the gate of the republican palace where a bomb went off and wounded three people, in Sanaa, Yemen, on Feb. 7, 2015. The Shiite Houthi group held a conference in the republican palace on Friday and announced its decision to form a presidential council and a national council to replace the presidency and parliament to run the country.

Houthi fighters guard the gate of the republican palace where a bomb went off and wounded three people, in Sanaa, Yemen, on Feb. 7, 2015. The Shiite Houthi group held a conference in the republican palace on Friday and announced its decision to form a presidential council and a national council to replace the presidency and parliament to run the country.
Houthi fighters guard the gate of the republican palace where a bomb went off and wounded three people, in Sanaa, Yemen, on Feb. 7, 2015. The Shiite Houthi group held a conference in the republican palace on Friday and announced its decision to form a presidential council and a national council to replace the presidency and parliament to run the country.

The embassies of the US, France and Britain announced  that they will withdraw their diplomatic staff from Yemen due to the security situation.

The US embassy posted a statement of the State Department on its website saying that the US government has decided to suspend embassy operations in Sanaa and “will explore options for a return to Sanaa when the situation on the ground improves”.

A diplomatic source at the US embassy said on condition of anonymity that the embassy would withdraw most of its staff and the ambassador will continue to work in another country in the region, Xinhua news agency reported.

On the same day, the British embassy released a statement that cited British Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood as saying the diplomatic personnel have been withdrawn from the British Embassy in Sanaa on security grounds.

“The security situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate over recent days. Regrettably we now judge that our embassy staff and premises are at increased risk,” he said.

“We have therefore decided to withdraw diplomatic staff and temporarily suspend the operations of the British embassy in Sanaa, ” the minister said, adding that the ambassador and diplomatic staff left Yemen Wednesday morning and would return to Britain.

Meanwhile, the French embassy in Sanaa said in a statement that “the embassy will be closed from Feb 13 until further notice”.

The three countries also urged the immediate departure of their citizens from Yemen.

The security situation deteriorated in Yemen since January when the Shia Houthi group seized the presidential palace in Sanaa after deadly clashes with presidential guards.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah submitted their resignations Jan 22.

On Feb 6, the Houthi group announced a unilateral move to dissolve the parliament and form a presidential council to take over power after the country’s president and premier resigned last month, which was rejected by Yemen’s political parties and denounced by the Gulf Arab states.