The United States government has announced the suspension of all major consular and diplomatic services from its embassy in Eritrea in what is seen as a further deterioration of its relations with Asmara.
The embassy also suspended visa services and said it would soon announce alternative locations for the provision of similar services.
“The US Embassy in Asmara can provide only emergency services to US citizens in Eritrea as of today. We regret that at this time we cannot offer non-emergency services,” an embassy statement Wednesday* said.
US citizens travelling or residing in the Red Sea nation have been advised to register with the embassy online for any possible emergency assistance.
It said that it had been forced to suspend its operations in Asmara after government officials denied it more staff.
Eritrea has restricted the free movement of diplomats out of the capital city and no one is allowed to travel outside Asmara without prior permission from the government.
However sources said the increasing hostility between Asmara and Washington may have led to the flagging diplomatic relations.
Eritrea accuses the US of backing its arch-foe Ethiopia in a recent military strike in its territory, a claim denied by the embassy.