US to keep its Lahore, Yemen embassies shut
WASHINGTON (PAN): Washington would keep its consulate in the Pakistani city of Lahore closed, the US State Department said on Friday, a day after pulling out staff due to a credible threat to the facility.
The department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US would reopen all of the embassies it shut this week except the one in Yemen and Lahore, after re-assessing the Al Qaeda threat.
The US had closed some two dozen embassies and consulates since August 4 after reported intelligence intercepts from Al Qaeda suggested an attack was imminent.
The closures affected virtually the entire Arab world and were eventually extended to include parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Psaki said 18 of the 19 embassies and consulates subject to the week-long closure would reopen on Sunday, a working day in most Muslim-majority countries.
“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,” Psaki said.
“Our consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, which closed due to a separate credible threat to that facility, will also remain closed,” she added.
Psaki said the United States would keep monitoring threats in Sanaa and Lahore as it decides when to reopen the missions.
President Barack Obama, speaking earlier Friday at a news conference, said that the United States was trying to strengthen countries' capacity to fight local branches of Al Qaeda.
The Wall Street Journal cited an anonymous US official as saying the leader of AQAP, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, masterminded a plot that sparked the global alert.
The Obama administration chose to close the embassies after facing criticism at home over the deaths of four diplomats, including ambassador Chris Stevens, in an attack by extremists on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.