Amid the political deadlock and deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the United States, United Kingdom and France have announced that they are closing its embassy in the Arabian Peninsula state. The decision comes following the capture of the capital city of Sanaa by Houthi rebels.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that the embassy staff at Yemen had gradually reduced and said the safety of the personnel was a top priority. "We take steps in order to make sure we do everything we can to protect that," Reuters quoted her as saying.
It is understood that marines providing security at the embassy are also likely to leave, but American forces conducting missions in other parts of the country will not be affected.
While one U.S. official has said that a contingent of around 100 Marines was helping protect the U.S. embassy, another said a Navy amphibious assault ship was in the Red Sea off Yemen's coast and would be available to help with the evacuation of embassy staff, if requested by the State Department.
Meanwhile , the UK has also withdrawn all their diplomatic staff from Yemen and closed down their embassy, which is at "increased risk". The Foreign Office has also announced that all Britons who remain in Yemen should leave immediately, reports BBC.
"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," said Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood. The ambassador and diplomatic staff who were stationed in Yemen are said to have left for UK on Wednesday morning.
French embassy has announced that it will close down on Friday, reports the guardian. While employees of the German embassy have been getting rid of documents and have given local staff two months' paid leave, there has been no decisive announcement regarding closing down.
Yemen, which shares a long border with top global oil exporter Saudi Arabia, is also home to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the most active branches of the global Sunni Islamist group.
Last month, Iran-backed Shi'ite Muslim Houthi rebels, seized the presidential palace, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to resign. Now, Yemen risks descending into a full-blown civil war pitting regional, political, tribal and sectarian rivals against each other in a nation.