EU envoy to leave Yemen 'for security reasons'

SANAA – European Union envoy to Yemen Bettina Muscheidt intends to leave the crisis-rocked nation within 48 hours "for security reasons," a source with the EU's mission in Yemen said Wednesday.

Muscheidt took the decision based on the local "security situation," the source, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency without elaborating.

The decision came moments after the U.S., U.K. and French embassies in capital Sanaa announced that they would be suspending their operations due to mounting insecurity.

The embassy closures came as thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Wednesday to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that eventually led to the ouster of autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

They also staged rallies to protest the Shiite Houthi group's recent takeover of the government.

Last week, the powerful Shiite group issued a "constitutional declaration" dissolving parliament and establishing a 551-member "transitional council."

The declaration, however, was rejected by most of Yemen's political forces – along with some neighboring countries – which described it as a "coup" against "constitutional legitimacy."

Late last September, the Houthis seized control of Sanaa and have since sought to expand their influence to other provinces farther afield.

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