Saudi Arabia signs agreement to deposit $2bn in Yemen central bank

1 / 2
2 / 2
Saudi Arabia has affirmed its continuing support for the Yemeni government and determination to assist it to restore security and stability to the country. (SPA)
Updated 17 March 2018
0

Saudi Arabia signs agreement to deposit $2bn in Yemen central bank

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on Thursday to deposit $2 billion into the account of Yemen’s central bank, under the instruction of King Salman, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The agreement was signed by the Kingdom’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan and Yemen’s Central Bank Governor Dr. Mohammed bin Mansour Zammam in Riyadh.
In January 2018, King Salman issued a directive to transfer $2 billion to Yemen’s central bank to “alleviate the suffering” of the Yemeni people.
In remarks following the signing ceremony, Al-Jadaan said that the agreement was a continuation of the Kingdom’s support for the Yemeni people, bringing the total of Saudi deposits at the central bank to $3 billion. 
He said that this would enhance the financial and economic situation of Yemen, especially the Yemeni riyal exchange rate, which would be reflected positively in the living conditions of citizens.
Saudi Arabia has affirmed its continuing support for the Yemeni government and determination to assist it to restore security and stability to the country.
Last month, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) also signed six agreements with organizations in Riyadh worth $3 million to help Yemenis displaced and injured by Houthi rebel actions.
KSRelief has targeted areas such as Maarib province, Al-Jouf, Imran, Sanaa, and Dimaar for the rehabilitation of child soldiers rescued from the Houthi rebels.
Earlier, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jabir told Arab News that the assistance provided by the center was not only supplying foods, medicines and clothes to distressed Yemenis. 
There are some 2 million Yemenis working in the Kingdom and they send more than $10 million to their families in Yemen. 
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 improve.
“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 in January, according to Reuters.
The riyal currently trades at 500 to the dollar, down from about 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 its second city Aden from the capital, where the Houthis operate their own rival central bank.


Former Saudi oil workers and their ‘brats’ reunite in transformed Kingdom

The reunion’s organizing committee lined up a program of more than 100 trips, events and activities which included visits to Al-Ula, Madain Saleh, Jeddah, Riyadh, Abha, Asir, Al-Ahsa and Shaybah. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 20 min 13 sec ago
0

Former Saudi oil workers and their ‘brats’ reunite in transformed Kingdom

  • KSA witnesses a growing interest from expatriate retirees to revisit the country

JEDDAH: There’s no place like home for former Saudi Aramco workers and their families.
Hundreds of retired oil workers from around the world returned to Saudi Arabia for a special get-together in a country still close to their hearts.
The fourth KSA Expat Reunion attracted 540 “Aramcon” visitors from 20 countries for an 11-day trip to rekindle fond memories of living and working in the Kingdom and meet up with old friends and colleagues.
Reunion publicity manager, Alison Hooker, told Arab News that many of the ex-Aramco staff had traveled with their children and grandchildren, with the oldest member of the group aged 95.
At the start of their careers in Saudi Arabia it had been a big adventure, said Hooker, but as time went by “the Kingdom grew into their lives and hearts and became their ‘home,’ the place where their children were born and/or raised, and the place from which they gained a special sense of identity and belonging: Where they became known as an ‘Aramcon’ and their children as ‘Aramco Brats’.”
She added: “For many of the brats, Saudi Arabia will always be their ‘home’ and they are so grateful for the opportunity to return and rediscover their roots.”
The idea for the reunion began after retired Aramco executive Ali M. Baluchi, who left the company in 1990, attended a get-together in the US, and as the years passed, he noticed a growing interest from expatriate retirees to revisit the Kingdom.
“In 1998, Baluchi began gathering support for such a visit, lobbying not only the company, but also many local business leaders and government officials,” Hooker said. “Two years later he gathered 300 visitors in Saudi Arabia on the first in-Kingdom reunion. Subsequent reunions were held in 2009, 2015 and then March 11-21 this year.”
Baluchi’s greatest desire, she added, was for returning Aramcons and their families to experience a warm welcome while marveling at how the Kingdom has grown and changed — from observing the roles of women in the workplace to the expansion of tourism and top-quality entertainment.
While they enjoy reconnecting with their past, Baluchi hopes visitors leave with an even deeper affection for Saudi Arabia and its people, and a positive view of the dynamic future ahead for the Kingdom.
The majority of former Aramco employees on the latest trip were from the US, but others came from the UK, Australia, India, Pakistan, Switzerland and Jamaica.
“There were grandparents visiting with their grandchildren to proudly show them where they once worked,” said Hooker. “One couple, Roger and Amie Power from Oklahoma, were here on their honeymoon so Roger could show Amie where he grew up.”
The oldest visitor was Johnnie Guyon, 95, who first came to Saudi Arabia in 1947 with her Aramco driller husband Raymond ‘Tex’ Guyon. She was accompanied by her sons Steve and Chuck who arrived in the Kingdom with the couple as babies.
The reunion’s organizing committee lined up a program of more than 100 trips, events and activities which included visits to Al-Ula, Madain Saleh, Jeddah, Riyadh, Abha, Asir, Al-Ahsa and Shaybah.
Hooker said: “The events included a magnificent welcome dinner hosted by Aramco CEO Amin Nasser at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, and a reception hosted by the governor of the Eastern Province. The pre-planned activities included local tours to Dammam, Alkhobar, and Uqair. They also included a boat trip from Jubail, shopping and photographic excursions, special dinners, shows and lots more.”
She added that the visitors had been stunned by the progress and development in the Kingdom. “For some, it took a while to adjust. The most obvious change for all has been the status of women in the workforce. The master of ceremonies at the welcome dinner was one of the Kingdom’s first female firefighters, for instance. Seeing women driving was another amazing thing.”
Canadian Kathy Brown came with her international driving license just so she could experience driving in the Kingdom for the first time. “It was an amazing and freeing experience after years of having to rely on drivers to take me anywhere,” she said.
Hooker said it was the incredible warmth of traditional Saudi hospitality that had the biggest impact on the visitors.
“Whether over coffee and tea at a desert campfire or at a resort lunch, the welcome was phenomenal. So many commented on the kindness and generosity of the Saudi people they met. They definitely returned home as unofficial ambassadors for the Kingdom.” The next reunion is planned for 2023.