The United States has said it plans to reopen 18 of the 19 embassies and consulates closed due to a global terror alert. The embassy in Yemen, however, will remain closed because of an ongoing threat.
The US State Department announced on Friday that it plans to reopen the majority of the diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa that were closed over the past week. It also said it would continue to monitor the situation in Yemen with an eye toward reopening the embassy in Sanaa at a later date.
“Our embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, will remain closed because of ongoing concerns about a threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks emanating from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The closures this past week came in the wake of an intercepted message between al Qaeda leaders about plans for a major terrorist attack.
US leaders have reassessed the regional al Qaeda terror threat, which has led to the plan to resume normal operations at the posts.
The diplomatic posts will be reopened on Sunday or Monday.
Assessing al Qaeda
Earlier on Friday, President Barack Obama commented on the strength of al Qaeda in the region.
“This tightly organized and relatively centralized al Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 has been broken apart,” Obama said. “And it is very weak and does not have a lot of operational capacity.”
He was careful, however, to point to the dangerous situation in the Arabian Peninsula and the extremists linked with al Qaeda there.
“We still have these regional organizations like AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) that can pose a threat,” he said.
The US consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, which was closed on Thursday following a separate terror threat, however, will remain shut.
“Our consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, which closed due to a separate credible threat to that facility, will also remain closed,” Psaki added.
tm/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)