US Embassy Remains Closed for Third Day

The US State Department extended the closure of diplomatic facilities in Saudi Arabia for at least another day on Tuesday amid what it cited as “grave security concerns.”

The closure of the US missions, however, coincides with the arrival of US Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller, who will be working out of the Jeddah-based US consulate, as announced earlier.

It was immediately not clear whether the consular services at the US embassy in Riyadh and its consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran will be open on Wednesday or not. The closure of the US diplomatic missions and the arrival of the US envoy to Yemen were confirmed by Stewart Wight, a spokesman of the US embassy here Tuesday.

“Due to heightened security concerns at US diplomatic facilities in Saudi Arabia, consular services will continue to be canceled at the embassy in Riyadh and consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran on Tuesday,” said Wight. “A new security notice will be sent out as soon as consular services return to normal.”

He said that the telephone lines to the consular sections would not be open during the closure. The spokesman called on the US citizens to “use the emergency contact numbers available on US Embassy website, in case of emergency.”

Asked about the security situation, US State Department Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN that she did not have an idea on when US facilities in Saudi Arabia might reopen.

Asked about the relocation of American ambassador to Yemen and his staffers to Jeddah, Wight confirmed that Tueller has arrived in the Kingdom. He, however, said that “Ambassador Tueller is out of the Kingdom at present for meetings in Washington.”

He said that the US ambassador to Yemen had a meeting with GCC chief Abdullatif Al-Zayani in Riyadh on Monday.

The talks between Al-Zayani and Tueller focused on the new developments unfolding in Yemen and the efforts to support the Yemeni president to maintain security and stability in that strife-torn country. The two officials dwelt at length on how to pursue the political process on the basis of the GCC peace initiative and within the framework of the outcome of UN-brokered national dialogue.


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