Riyadh vows $ 1 bn aid for Sanaa

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will announce $1 billion in aid to support Yemen at a donor conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The money to be released by the state-owned Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) will deposited with the Yemeni central bank, said a Reuters report quoting Yemeni Planning and International Cooperation Minister Mohammed Al-Saadi.
The SFD initiative aims to support the stability of the currency and strengthen the Yemeni government’s efforts to face economic challenges. Yemen hopes to receive similar support from other countries to help stabilize its currency and rebuild its economy.
A spokesman for the GCC General Secretariat said yesterday, “A two-day international donor meeting on Tuesday to raise aid for Yemen, a nation dealing with political transition, food shortages and poor infrastructure, would discuss reconstruction, humanitarian needs and ways to strengthen security and stability.” This conference is being held at a crucial time — a time when Yemen has no means to provide food and medication to its starving population, he added.
The GCC spokesman said a high-ranking delegation headed by Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa would represent Yemen at the Riyadh conference and many regional and international organizations would also be present.
The GCC spokesman said GCC nations are close allies of Yemen, which is also a member of the UN, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Assurances of support from Gulf states and the international community led to the change of guard in that country, he added.
Over 44 percent of Yemen’s 25 million people will face a food shortage next year and the UN reports five million Yemenis are considered “extremely food insecure.” The UN estimates more than 267, 000 Yemeni children face life-threatening levels of malnutrition and a large number of the population are displaced and homeless.
Yemen and its development partners will hold a Friends of Yemen meeting in New York on Sept. 27, during which further financial aid would be announced. The spokesman applauded the international community’s backing of stability and development in Yemen, as well as Saudi support of the Yemeni government.
Yemen is undergoing a political transition after a yearlong uprising unseated Ali Abdullah Saleh and left the economy of the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country in a shambles. In May, Saudi Arabia pledged $4 billion in aid for Yemen at the Friends of Yemen meeting held in Riyadh.

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