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Saudi Arabia pulls diplomats from Yemen

10 September 2014
The Kingdom has issued instructions to close down its embassy in Sanaa and evacuate diplomats, as well as all Saudi citizens, amid growing concerns over safety and security following a string of attacks on foreign targets and the ongoing civil war in Yemen.

Osama Nugali, a spokesman at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, could neither confirm nor deny the reports of the closure of the mission.

In a message texted to Arab News Tuesday, Nugali said: "Prince Saud Al-Faisal, foreign minister, will hold a press conference on Thursday and you can ask him all the questions you want."

But, a report published in the Al-Watan daily said the embassy would be closed "due to the volatile situation in Yemen."

The terror attacks and the security information have given Riyadh enough concern to take this precautionary step, it added. "Hazaa Al-Mutairi, charge d'affaires at the Saudi Embassy, has already left Sanaa," it added.

The report said that about 50 Saudi citizens, who were working in the mission, have also returned home.
The embassy's closure follows growing tensions between the Yemeni government and Huthi protesters in Sanaa, who are demanding a new government and also the reinstatement of fuel subsidies.

The Ministry of Higher Education has issued orders to evacuate 60 Saudi students who are currently on the rolls of the University of Science and Technology in Sanaa. Mohammed Ali Meshni, university's media director, said the Saudi Embassy sent letters to all universities in Yemen announcing the evacuation of Saudi students.

The embassy was also closed down for a short period in March 2012 after Abdullah Al-Khaledi, a Saudi diplomat, was kidnapped on March 18, 2012. The Kingdom also closed its consulate in Aden at that time.
 
Saudi nationals and Saudi interests have routinely been the target of attacks in the country.

© Arab News 2014

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