$2bn Saudi cash injection to ease Yemenis’ suffering

Child soldiers recruited by Yemen’s Houthi militias attend a rally in Sanaa on Jan. 14. (Reuters)
Updated 18 January 2018
0

$2bn Saudi cash injection to ease Yemenis’ suffering

JEDDAH: King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a directive on Wednesday to transfer $2 billion to Yemen’s central bank to “alleviate the suffering” of the Yemeni people.
“To address the deteriorating economic situation faced by the Yemeni people as a result of the actions of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias, King Salman bin Abdulaziz has issued a directive to transfer a $2 billion deposit to the central bank of Yemen,” the Saudi Interior Ministry said.
The bailout is expected to boost Yemen’s financial and economic situation while bolstering the Yemeni riyal. As the value of the riyal goes up, the living conditions of Yemeni citizens will change for the better.
The transfer aims to help the conflict-torn country to “cope with the economic burdens resulting from the crimes and violations committed by Iranian-backed Houthi militias,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The Houthis have been accused of looting the state, seizing government revenues, including those generated from oil and its derivatives. They acquire this revenue in Yemeni riyal as they manipulate its exchange rate, the statement said.
“They are doing all this to pursue their own destructive objectives at the expense of the Yemeni people,” SPA cited, adding that their actions have resulted in a “steady devaluation of the currency, which has significantly damaged the lives of Yemenis for several years.”
This brings the total that Saudi Arabia has sent to Yemen’s central bank to $3 billion.
 Yusuf Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said such a move would alleviate suffering of the Yemeni people.
“It’s not a loan, it’s a deposit and the legitimate Yemeni government will not have to pay it back,” a source close to the Saudi government said, according to Reuters.
Aid workers on the ground told Reuters they expected the riyal to rebound due to the Saudi cash injection.
“Saving the riyal means saving Yemenis from inevitable hunger,” Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr said on Wednesday. 
The riyal currently trades at 500 to the dollar, down from around 215 before the war, a serious depreciation for a country that relies heavily on imports of basic foodstuffs.
In 2016, the Yemeni government moved the central bank to second city Aden from the capital where the Houthis operate their own rival central bank.
Penny Mordaunt, British secretary of state for international development, stressed London’s support for Saudi efforts to stop illegal arms smuggling into Yemen. Mordaunt strongly condemned continued firing of ballistic missiles by the Houthis toward the Kingdom, the SPA said.


Role of Saudi Arabian Military Industries to enrich Kingdom’s defense capabilities hailed

Updated 17 min 32 sec ago
0

Role of Saudi Arabian Military Industries to enrich Kingdom’s defense capabilities hailed

JEDDAH: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on Thursday visited the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) pavilion at the Bahrain International Air Show 2018. The king was accompanied by Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov.
SAMI’s team gave a detailed presentation on the achievements and future plans of Saudi Arabia’s military industries. Initiatives launched by SAMI to develop the sector are part of efforts to realize Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of localizing 50 percent of Saudi military spending by 2030.
King Hamad and Kadyrov were shown the first model of the Avante 2200 corvette. Five Avante 2200 corvettes and combat management systems are being built for the Saudi Ministry of Defense.
The king praised SAMI’s rapid success, and expressed his admiration for the achievements and development projects of the military and air industries in Saudi Arabia.
The three-day show, held under the patronage of King Hamad, runs until Friday at the Sakhir Air Base in southern Bahrain. It was officially opened by Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the king’s personal representative and chairman of the event’s organizing committee.
SAMI CEO Dr. Andreas Schwer said: “Our participation in the Bahrain International Air Show is aimed at highlighting SAMI’s growing military capabilities and showcasing our achievements in enhancing self-sufficiency in defense capabilities.”
“We are keen to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the show, and the promising investment prospects in Saudi Arabia’s booming military industries, in order to support the Kingdom’s vision of localizing more than 50 percent of military-equipment spending by 2030.”
Civil aviation
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation also signed a strategic partnership agreement with technology company Taqnia Space with the aim of developing cooperation in a number of areas and strengthening Saudi Arabia’s position in the field of aviation, regionally and internationally, in accordance with Vision 2030.
The agreement was co-signed by the authority’s chairman, Abdul Hakim Al-Tamimi, and Taqnia Space CEO Abdullah Al-Osaimi, on the sidelines of the airshow.
GACA has partnered with Taqnia Space to issue licenses for the installation of satellite communication systems on civil aircraft in the Middle East and North Africa, similar to the licenses issued by international organizations, and organize international expos in Saudi Arabia where passengers can try out new in-flight satellite and entertainment services.
Al-Osaimi said that this will create business opportunities and strengthen the Kingdom’s position in these specialized fields that offer advanced technologies related to civil aviation safety.
He added: “The UON pilot service was launched last week on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Riyadh to Geneva. This service, which will be available for passengers in the next few days, offers high-speed internet, and 3G and 4G services, in addition to live television broadcasts.”
Al-Tamimi said that the importance of the agreement lies in its contribution to promoting the construction of modern air-transport systems and infrastructure, and the development of effective procedures and practices to ensure a high-quality and safe flight environment that will make the authority a leader in civil aviation at the regional and international levels.
The agreement will help to achieve the aims of Vision 2030 and support the objectives of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 through the development of aviation services to ensure excellence of performance, he added.