Tags: ML | Yemen | Al | Qaida

U.S. Embassy Reopens in Yemen

Tuesday, 05 Jan 2010 06:48 AM

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen reopened its doors Tuesday after a two-day closure because of threats, even as the Yemeni government maintained that the security situation in the capital had always been under control.

The embassy said it shut down because of information of an imminent al-Qaida attack, but now government actions "have addressed a specific area of concern, and have contributed to the embassy's decision to resume operations."

The British embassy, meanwhile, also said it had reopened, though consular and visa services remain suspended.

Other Western embassies maintained heightened security profiles Tuesday, including the French and Czech embassies, which were operational but closed to the public, and the Spanish and German embassies, that were restricting the number of visitors.

In a sign of possible dissatisfaction over the embassy closures, Yemen's Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the situation is under control.

"There is nothing to fear from any threats of terror attack," the ministry said. "Security is good in the capital and the provinces, and there is no fear for the lives of any foreigner or foreign embassy."

Yemen has stepped up its attacks on al-Qaida hideouts, and security forces attacked a group of al-Qaida militants moving through the mountainous area of Arhab, northeast of the capital,on Monday, security officials said.

In addition, Yemeni forces arrested five in the capital and the western region of Hodeida, the Interior Ministry said.

Although the U.S. embassy reopened Tuesday, it said the threat of terrorist attacks against American interests remained high and urged its citizens in Yemen to be "vigilant and take prudent security measures."

The fight against al-Qaida in Yemen has taken on greater urgency since the failed Christmas attempt to bomb an American passenger jet. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian man who tried to destroy a Detroit-bound airliner, told U.S. investigators he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

The United States hiked its counterterrorism aid to Saleh's government, from none in 2008 to $67 million last year — an amount Washington says will double in 2010.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that internal unrest and a surge in al-Qaida activity in Yemen pose a global threat.

Clinton praised the Yemeni government for recent steps it has taken to combat extremists but said that at the London conference the United States and its allies will tell the Yemeni government that there are "expectations and conditions" it must meet for it to continue to enjoy support from the West.


On the Net:

U.S. Embassy in Yemen: http://yemen.usembassy.gov/

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