Saudi Arabia pumps $130m into Yemen developmental projects
Riyadh will establish a medical city in Yemen and rehabilitate Aden International Airport, as per requests from the internationally-recognised government.
The development projects, worth more than $130 million, were announced at a signing ceremony in Riyadh on Sunday attended by the Saudi ambassador to Yemen Muhammad bin Saeed al-Jaber as well as Yemeni health, planning, transport and finance ministers.
The package includes three major projects, including the King Salman Medical and Educational City in Al-Mahra, the rehabilitation of Aden International Airport to meet global standards and plans to reconstruct the Al-Bar road in Marib, Saudi Press Authority reported.
The agreement also involved the Small and Micro-Enterprise Development Agency [SMEPS] which aims to support locals with grants and training programmes.
The signing on Sunday came a day after Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi on Saturday ordered the new unity government to return to the interim capital Aden to begin its duties, following the swearing-in ceremony in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Yemen's internationally recognised government and southern separatists formed a new cabinet on Friday, forging a joint front against Houthi rebels who have seized much of the north.
The new government was formed under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis, who took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014.
Since the military intervention in 2015, more than 100,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed in Yemen, where the conflict has been described as the "world’s worst humanitarian crisis".
In November, United Nations Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council the $3.4 million UN humanitarian appeal for 2020 for Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has received only $1.5 billion, about 45%. By comparison, he said, last year at this time the UN had received twice as much - almost $3 billion.
Besides appealing for urgent new funds, Lowcock implored donors to turn more than $200 million in pledges into cash.
On Sept. 15, Lowcock for the first time singled out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for giving nothing to the 2020 appeal.
Days later, Kuwait announced a $20 million donation and Saudi Arabia publicly committed to providing $204 million to UN aid agencies, part of its $500 million pledged in June.
The UAE, which was part of the Saudi-led coalition and had been a top donor, did not announce any funding for this year.