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Archive for Yemen

Newsline: UN chief appoints former British diplomat envoy to Yemen

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a former British diplomat as special envoy to war-torn Yemen. A U.N. spokesman announced the appointment of Martin Griffiths on Friday, saying he will replace Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Ahmed had been in the post for three years. His contract expires at the end of the month. Griffiths is the executive director of the European Institute of Peace and has served in multiple U.N. roles.



Newsline: US cuts staff in Yemen years after embassy closed

Three years after Yemen’s civil war forced the U.S. embassy to close, the State Department has laid off 360 local staff members, according to Reuters. Ambassador Matthew Tueller said in a letter obtained by the news agency that U.S. regulations on suspended embassies prevented him from keeping the staff members employed. Workers will get full severance payments and are encouraged to reapply when the embassy reopens, Tueller reportedly said. “We are extremely grateful for the service of each and every one of these individuals and hope to work with them at some point in the future when we can safely resume operations in Yemen,” a State Department official said, according to Reuters. In 2015, the United States closed its embassy in Yemen as the country descended into civil war. The conflict led the former Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his staff to go into exile in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. ambassador to Yemen is also currently operating out of Saudi Arabia.


Newsline: Russia temporarily shuts, evacuates Yemen embassy

Russia removed all of its diplomatic personnel from Yemen and has temporarily shut its embassy there, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday. Russia’s ambassador to Yemen and other diplomats would continue to fulfill their duties from Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement carried by Russian state media. The decision to temporarily close the embassy, located in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, was attributed to thedeteriorating security situation in the country. “Considering the situation in Sanaa, a decision has been taken to temporarily suspend Russia’s diplomatic presence in Yemen. All employees of the Russian embassy have left the country,” Zakharova was quoted by news agencies as saying.



Newsline: Iran embassy in Yemen attacked, set ablaze

A fire ripped through the Iranian embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday during clashes between the Houthis and loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Xinhua reporter on the scene witnessed. The fire broke out after the embassy was attacked by heavy weapons, but it remained unknown who were responsible for the incident. A security official said about 20 staff members of the embassy were trapped inside the building. The embassy is located near the presidential palace and is close to the residence of a son of Saleh in southwestern Sanaa. More than 100 dead bodies could be seen lying on the streets leading to the diplomatic complex in the Hadda area. An official from the Houthi-controlled Interior Ministry told Xinhua that at least 200 militants from both warring sides had been killed and more others were wounded in the clashes near the Iranian embassy. The embassy is located near the highlands controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, where the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes for five times on Saturday midnight.



Newsline: Three Employees of US Embassy Detained in Yemen

The Yemeni security services officers, controlled by the Houthi rebel movement, detained and took to an unknown place three employees of the US Embassy in Sanaa, without bringing any charges against them, a source in the services told Sputnik. Earlier in the day, local media reported that the militias had detained 12 employees of the United Nations and staff members of the US Embassy in Sanaa. “Yemeni militias detained three employees of the US embassy separately and took them to an unknown place,” the source said. According to him, the charges have not yet been brought against the detainees. The incident has not been announced officially. A source in the local United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) denied reports of the detention of its employees. “This news is not true,” the source said.



Newsline: Former US diplomat again found liable for raping housekeeper

A former U.S. diplomat has for the second time been found liable for enslaving and sexually trafficking a housekeeper while posted at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen. A jury in Alexandria, Va., federal court on Monday agreed that Linda Howard and her husband Russell Howard forced an Ethiopian maid into sexual slavery in 2008, repeatedly raping her. Howard was ordered to pay $3 million in damages to the now 30-year-old woman, identified only Sarah Roe, who lives in Virginia. Five years ago, Howard and her Australian husband, Russell Howard, were found liable in the same court for trafficking another Ethiopian housekeeper in 2008. They were ordered to pay her $3.3 million. However, the couple had already fled from Arlington, Va. to Australia and contested the judgment there, settling only in 2015. Howard left the State Department in 2013; her husband died in 2012. She denied the fresh allegations and argued that Roe could not sue for civil damages under a human trafficking law that did not pass until 2008.



Newsline: Qatar expels Yemen embassy mission in Doha

The Qatari authorities have asked members of the Yemeni embassy mission in Doha to leave the country within 48 hours. A Yemeni diplomatic source told Sputnik Arabic that the Qatari authorities informed the Yemeni diplomats to leave in a maximum of two days from the date of the meeting. Yemeni Foreign Ministry based in Riyadh has commented on this development.