World powers step up to help Yemen recovery
Turkish Deputy PM Arınç (L), Yemeni PM Basindwa (2nd L), Saudi FM Saud (2nd R) and British Foreign Office Minister Burt attend a photo session in Riyadh. REUTERS photoSaudi Arabia led a group of world donors in collectively pledging more than $4 billion in aid to impoverished Yemen on May 23, as the country grapples with a fragile political transition and struggles to contain a growing al-Qaeda threat.
Saudi Arabia pledged $3.25 billion of the total. “This [aid] demonstrates that the Yemeni-Saudi relationship is quite strong and Saudi Arabia is cognizant that the stability of Saudi Arabia depends on that of Yemen,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said, Reuters reported.
“The Yemeni government is exerting courageous efforts, but without the help of its brothers and friends, Yemen will not be able to solve the crises it is facing,” said Prince Saud, who described the meeting as “positive.”
Support for Yemen “includes providing expertise and help in all fields including economy, security and military,” he said. Almost half of Yemenis do not have enough to eat and urgent aid is needed to avert a catastrophe, a group of seven aid agencies said on May 23, ahead of the Riyadh meeting. British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said Britain had pledged an $44 million aid to Yemen.
Turkey has drawn up a roadmap to assist in Yemen’s development, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said on May 23. The Turkish International Cooperation Agency, Arınç said, speaking at the meeting in Riyadh, Anatolia news agency reported. Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa pleaded for aid for his country, which was rocked by an uprising last year that forced former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in February. “We are confident that you realize the danger and sensitivity of the situation in Yemen, which needs lots and lots to recover. We seek your help; don’t fail us.”
Yemeni Planning Minister Mohammed al-Saadi said his country would request about $10 billion in urgent aid at the meeting. So far only 43 percent of $455 million requested earlier by the U.N. and other organizations has been received for humanitarian aid for Yemen. Twenty-seven countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., as well as international organizations, are attending the Riyadh meeting.