Netherlands temporarily shuts down embassy in Yemen

- Netherlands' decision to close its embassy in Sanaa follows similar decisions by the missions of U.S., U.K, France and Italy.

AMSTERDAM (AA) – Netherlands announced Thursday it was temporarily shutting down its embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa because of political tensions and risks of violence flaring up in the volatile country.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders told the Dutch House of Representatives in a letter Thursday that the embassy staff had already been evacuated.

Koenders said that “the situation in Yemen is unpredictable at the moment.”

He also said that the “responsibility for the safety of our people at the mission was the deciding factor.”

He added that it was impossible to say right now how long this situation would continue. “We want to return to Yemen as soon as possible, and I hope the situation there stabilizes soon.”

Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels dissolved the parliament last week and said they would establish a "transitional council" and a government of technocrats to run the country for two years.

The group emerged as a political and military force last September after taking over the capital, Sanaa, and extending control over other parts of the country.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi stepped down on Jan. 21 in protest at the seizure of Sanaa and his house arrest, following a similar move by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and his cabinet.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it urged Dutch nationals to leave Yemen as soon as possible.

The U.S., U.K., French and Italian embassies in Sanaa too have announced that they would be suspending operations because of mounting insecurity.

Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets Wednesday to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Western countries have also urged their nationals to leave Yemen as soon as possible.

Turkey's embassy in Yemen continues to run on a skeleton staff.

The UN Security Council said last week Friday it would consider unspecified "further steps" if Houthi rebels who seized power in Yemen did not return to negotiating table.

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