YEMEN SAYS IT CANNOT GUARANTEE FOREIGNERS' SAFETY

* Yemen said it could not guarantee the safety of foreigners after a spate of hostage-taking and asked its largest oil operator to consider shutting down, an oil industry source said yesterday.

The Western source said Texas-based Hunt Oil decided to maintain normal operations after a series of discussions requested by Oil Minister Saleh Abu Bakr bin Hussainoun in the past week.

Hunt produces 85 percent of Yemen's 200,000 barrels a day. Hunt has employed extra armed guards, is moving staff by helicopter to and from operational sites, and has restricted travel outside the capital, the oil source said.

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