U.S., U.K. Envoys Back in Yemen After Evacuation, Minister Says

The U.S. and U.K. ambassadors to Yemen have returned after their missions were evacuated following the interception of communications about a planned al-Qaeda attack, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi said.

Both embassies should open next week, al-Kurbi said today in a telephone interview from Sana’a. The U.S. and the U.K. said Aug. 6 they had withdrawn their personnel from Yemen and asked citizens to leave the country because of fears of an al-Qaeda attack.

Al-Kurbi said leaving and closing the embassies sends “the wrong signal to the terrorists” and any such future threats should be dealt with “in a manner that doesn’t disrupt relations or the normal functioning of diplomatic missions.”

“The threat of al-Qaeda can never be excluded in Yemen or in any other part of the world,” he said.

The U.S. closed its Yemen embassy along with 21 other missions from West Africa to South Asia after intercepting a message from Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as al-Qaeda chief in Pakistan, to the head of al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch, Nasir al-Wuhayshi.

Last September, Yemeni protesters in Sana’a breached the U.S. Embassy compound’s security perimeter and set two cars on fire. The attack followed the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three colleagues during an assault on consular buildings in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Sept. 11.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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