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US lays off local staff in Yemen

Move comes 3 years after it closed its embassy as civil war spread

Gulf News

Aden: The United States has laid off 360 local staff in Yemen three years after closing its embassy as a civil war spread in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

Ambassador Matthew Tueller wrote to workers saying new US

State Department regulations about suspended embassies meant he could no longer keep them on, in the letter dated February 6, which was seen by Reuters.

A State Department official confirmed the lay-offs, saying: “We are extremely grateful for the service of each and every one of these individuals and hope to work with them at some point in the future when we can safely resume operations in Yemen.” The United States closed its embassy there in 2015, after the country descended into war that forced President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his government into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The US ambassador has been working out of the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.

Tueller said the workers would get full severance payments and encouraged them to re-apply for jobs when the embassy reopens in the future. Workers told Reuters the United States was keeping on guards to watch the site.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in the war in 2015 in a bid to uphold the legitimacy of Hadi’s government.

The United States is supporting that coalition, and fighting Al Qaida militants in the south, mostly with drone strikes and sometimes commando raids.

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