US assessing political upheavals in Yemen

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Thursday it was assessing fast-moving events in Yemen that have seen the Cabinet and US-backed President resign, but still supports a peaceful political transition.

"Our team is seeking confirmation of all of the reports," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that so far there was no move to close the US embassy in the capital, Sanaa.

"We continue to support a peaceful transition. We've urged all parties and continue to urge all parties to abide by... the peace and national partnership agreement," she stressed.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi resigned Thursday saying the country was in "total deadlock" after months of unrest as the powerful Huthi Shi'ite militia took control of most of Sanaa.

Hadi took office in 2012 under a UN- and Gulf-backed peace plan, succeeding veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down amid US pressure after an almost year-long bloody uprising.

Hadi's government has been a key ally of the United States, allowing Washington to carry out repeated drone attacks on Al-Qaeda militants in its territory.

Hadi resigned after a deal with the Huthi which had sought to wrest changes to a draft constitution opposed by the militia because it would divide Yemen into six federal regions.

Psaki stressed that there was no change to the US presence in the Gulf country, with the embassy still operating under reduced staff.

"We are prepared to adjust our presence, if necessary, but there has been no change in our security posture," she said.

Two amphibious ships with US Marines on board are currently off the Yemeni coast in case any evacuation is ordered.

The United States was hoping that dialogue will continue on the ground between the Yemeni factions as "that's the only way, in our view, to de-escalate the situation on the ground," Psaki said.

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