11 Feb 2015

Britons urged to leave Yemen after embassy is abandoned

British nationals in Yemen are told to leave the country “immediately” as British diplomats are withdrawn and embassy operations shut down.

British embassy in yemen

Houthi rebels moved against President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi last month, forcing him to leave his presidential office and confining him to his private residence.

In a televised address last week, Houthi rebels said they had dissolved Yemen’s parliament and were forming a five-member presidential council to replace the president for an interim two-year period.

The US embassy in Yemen closed on Sunday, and American staff were evacuated from the country shortly after.

Houthi rebels

Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood said: “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. We have therefore decided to withdraw diplomatic staff and temporarily suspend the operations of the British Embassy in Sana’a.

“Our Ambassador and diplomatic staff have left Yemen this morning and will return to the UK.

British Nationals who remain in Yemen despite our longstanding and consistent message to leave the country should leave immediately Tobias Ellwood, minister for the Middle East

“We continue to believe that a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Yemen is the best future for the country. We will continue to work internationally to help Yemen achieve a legitimate, transparent political transition in which all Yemenis are represented.”

US diplomatic staff said that their mission had been getting rid of documents and weapons over the past few days.

Yemen has been in crisis for months, with Shiite Houthi rebels besieging the capital and then taking control.