Britain, France extend closure of their embassies in Yemen

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Britain and France said on Monday that they will extend the temporary closure of their embassies in Yemen due to continuing security concerns in the Arab country.

Their decisions followed the United States extending the closure of more than a dozen of its embassies in the Middle East and Africa.

“Due to continuing security concerns the British Embassy in Yemen will remain closed until the end of Eid,” Agence France-Presse quoted a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman as saying on Monday.

“There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Yemen”, she said, adding that terrorists are continuing to threaten further attacks. “There is a very high threat of kidnap from armed tribes, criminals and terrorists.”

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted the French ministry as saying in a statement on Monday that the “Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has decided to extend the closure of the French embassy in Sanaa (Yemeni capital) until Wednesday August 7th inclusive.”

French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday that the government had been informed “of threats concerning our installations overseas and even our nationals, threats coming from Al-Qaeda.”

“I have already decided to close the French embassy in Yemen because there we have elements suggesting extremely serious threats ... So this embassy will be closed for several days,” he said in a statement.

Germany has also temporarily closed its embassy in Yemen because of the high-level security threat.

Ramadan is due to end on Wednesday with embassies expected to re-open after the final day of the holy month.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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