Washington DC: The US has actively worked with Indians and others, including organisations like International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to use their resources and to tell Americans how they they can use those resources to leave Yemen.
This was pointed out by Marie Harf, the US department of State Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, at the daily press briefing here on Monday. Ms. Harf said: “are aware that several other U.S. citizens are detained in Yemen” while confirming that U.S. citizen Casey Coombs ( a freelance journalist) had left Yemen and arrived safely in Muscat, Oman, she said that he was in stable condition. She also told journalists that the U.S. ambassador and a consular official met him at the airport upon his arrival and were providing all possible consular assistance.
Ms. Harf said: “We are grateful to the Government of Oman and personally to Sultan Qaboos for assisting with the safe passage of a U.S. citizen to Oman, and deeply appreciate his majesty’s friendship to our country.”
When asked whether Coombs had been detained by the Rebel Houthis, Ms. Harf neither confirmed nor denied it. She summed up the query by saying: “I don’t have more details to share”. When asked whether Coombs was injured or wounded, she replied: “I don’t have more details on that to share, but I know there have been some press reports out there about his condition, so we wanted folks to know that he is in stable condition.”
Citing “their safety” as the reason, Ms. Harf said it would not be possible to give the specific number of Americans held in Yemen. She also said: “we are doing everything we can to obtain the release of these individuals. And obviously, there are a number of ways we can do that, some of which we’ve talked about before.
Ms. Harf further said, Americans were being told not to go to Yemen as the situation there is dangerous. More so as the US embassy has been temporarily closed, and he US does not have the same kind of resources to help them (the Americans) if they get into trouble or get taken or have an issue that they need resolved. She states categorically – “while we have not used American assets to evacuate Americans, we have actively worked with international organizations like IOM, like the ICRC, and with other countries like Djibouti and the Indians and others to use their resources and to tell Americans how they can use those resources to leave Yemen. So we have done everything we can to let Americans know what the resources out there are and to help facilitate them taking advantage of those resources.”
On being asked by a journalist if there was any talks in Oman between the U.S. and the Houthis regarding the situation in Yemen in general and about the Americans specifically, Ms. Harf said that US Assistant Secretary Patterson traveled to Oman and to Saudi Arabia to conduct meetings and consultations with a variety of regional parties on the crisis in Yemen.
When asked whether or not she met with the Houthis, the Ms. Harf said: “they engage with a wide swath of Yemenis from a number of different groups, and we’re just not going to get into specifics.”