The U.S. State Department yesterday ordered non-essential diplomats to leave Yemen as security deteriorated in the capital of Sana’a and President Ali Abdullah Saleh continued to cling to power.
The department also ordered family members of American government employees to leave and urged private citizens to do so as well, citing “violent clashes” that “may escalate without notice” in Sana’a.
“There is ongoing civil unrest throughout the country and large-scale protests in major cities,” the department said.
Fighting in the streets of Sana’a continued for a third day yesterday as Saleh warned that the clashes between security forces and members of the Hashid tribe could drag the country into civil war. In remarks in London yesterday, President Barack Obama again called on Saleh “to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power.”
The most recent plan for a transfer of power, brokered by Gulf nations and backed by the U.S. and the European Union, collapsed May 22 when Saleh refused to sign the agreement.