US asks of Yemen’s Houthis for immediate release of local embassy staff

A State Department spokesperson affirmed that the Iranian-backed Houthi group stormed the residence that served as the US embassy in the capital Sanaa, and most of the local staff held captive by the group were freed.

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The US warns Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi group to immediately release the remaining people that had been hired among locals as embassy staff and to evacuate the residence that previously served as its diplomatic mission in the capital Sanaa.

Responding to a question posed by a news agency through an e-mail, a State Department official confirmed that most of those held captive were released. Yet, the official did not clarify the exact number of embassy staffers still detained.

The Spokesperson said, “We are concerned that Yemeni staff of the US Embassy in Sanaa continue to be detained without explanation, and we call for their immediate release.”

According to his statements, diplomatic efforts to ensure the release of all people have been maintained. “The US government will continue its diplomatic efforts to secure the release of our staff and the vacating of our compound, including through our international partners.”

The residence stormed by the Houthi group housed the US embassy in Yemen until February 2015. Then, Washington relocated the compound to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Houthi capturing of US diplomatic employees coincided with Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking’s visit to the region, which addresses the efforts to establish a comprehensive ceasefire in the war-torn country.

On Tuesday, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price commented over the incident, saying, “the US was extremely concerned by reports of the detention of some of our local Yemeni employees in Sanaa.”

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