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Russia evacuates citizens and foreigners from Yemen — diplomat

December 13, 2017, 19:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On December 12, Russia’s diplomatic presence in Yemen was suspended

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A Houthi militant stands guard during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen

A Houthi militant stands guard during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen

© AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Russia has suspended diplomatic presence in Yemen and evacuated the embassy’s staff along with 30 Russian and foreign nationals who wanted to flee the hostilities, Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"On December 12, Russia’s diplomatic presence in Sana’a was suspended," she said. "The staff of our country’s embassy to the Republic of Yemen left the country on a Russian special flight. The same plane airlifted from Yemen 30 citizens of Russia and some other countries, who wished to flee the area of Yemen’s raging conflict. The decision was made amid the aggravated security situation in the wake of an ongoing escalation of the Yemen crisis."

The diplomat pointed out that "Russia’s ambassador to Yemen, who is temporarily staying in Riyadh, will carry on his duty and will keep in touch with Yemen’s legitimate government in exile in Saudi Arabia."

"In this regard, we think it necessary to confirm our principal position in favor of Yemeni warring sides to halt violence as soon as possible, to discuss accumulated disagreements and the country’s future statehood at the negotiation table by taking into consideration all leading political forces’ stances," Zakharova said. "We are set to employ every means available to us to help reach this goal."

Since August 2014, Yemen has been devastated by a war between the country’s world-recognized authorities and the Houthi rebel units. However, the conflict entered an active phase when the Saudi-led coalition invaded the country at the request of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in March 2015.

In January 2015, the Houthis seized Sana’a and forced President Hadi to move to Aden. He left the country after the Houthis entered the city on March 25. The next day, Saudi Arabia, supported by the air forces of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, launched a military operation against the rebels. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan also joined the coalition.

Since 29 November 2017, the Yemeni capital of Sana’a has been gripped by a wave of violence. Clashes began when the Houthi rebels attempted to seize some state buildings and facilities controlled by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters. On December 2, Saleh broke partnership with the Houthis, and was killed by the rebels on December 4, while trying to leave the capital and move to his native settlement.

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