Saudi Arabia, UAE ramp up support for Yemen

The total humanitarian support provided by the Kingdom to Yemen during the past four years amounted to more than $13 billion. (SPA)
Updated 13 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia, UAE ramp up support for Yemen

  • The response had been ramped up to meet the most urgent needs of thousands of displaced families
  • The Iran-backed Houthis had been involved in killings, torture, abduction and the illegal detention of people including women and children

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose aid contribution represents more than half of UN humanitarian targets, have scaled up their responses to the crisis in Yemen, said Mohammed Askar, Yemeni minister of human rights, on Wednesday.

The response had been ramped up to meet the most urgent needs of thousands of displaced families, especially because of the fighting in Hodeidah, the strategic port city through which 80 percent of food and aid are delivered into Yemen.

Askar gave an overview of the conditions of people in Yemen caused by the Iran-backed Houthi militias. He said that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have provided half of the humanitarian response set by the UN Humanitarian Needs Document for 2018, which is estimated at $3 billion.”

The minister said: “Saudi Arabia also provided $2 billion as bank deposit to curb the collapse of the national currency and stimulate the economy of that strife-torn country.” 

The Kingdom had also responded to WHO and UNICEF by making available $66.7 million to combat cholera. “This is in addition to $60 million for power and water plants, and supplies,” he said.

Referring to other countries that have extended aid to Yemen; Askar said: “We do not forget the great humanitarian roles played by several nations, especially Kuwait and Sudan.” 

“Moreover, we are working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” he added, while calling on all parties to ensure the physical safety of civilians and their freedom of movement.

He said that “our relationship with the office of the UNHCR focuses on exchange of information and reports, while we jointly seek to protect and promote human rights in Yemen.”

The UNHCR has opened an office in Aden and is working to build the capacity of Yemen’s National Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations, enabling Yemeni personnel to attend training courses in Geneva and in Beirut.

The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights facilitated the work of the UNHCR team in the liberated areas, he said. “The Yemeni ministry and the UNHCR have pledged to work together to strengthen links and enhance joint work in order to achieve the objectives which we both share.” 

The Iran-backed Houthi militias had launched a genocide in Yemen, further compounding the problems, he said.

The Iran-backed Houthis had been involved in killings, torture, abduction and the illegal detention of people including women and children. The number of detainees, who are still in the prisons of Houthi militants, exceedes 2,600, while a large number of men, women and children are either missing or were in secret prisons of the militants, he said. The Houthi militants have also killed more than 1,372 children and 814 women since the war broke out in Yemen in 2014.


Experts weigh in on what to expect from Pakistani PM Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia

Updated 20 min ago
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Experts weigh in on what to expect from Pakistani PM Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia

  • Maiden trip expected to further strengthen Pak-Saudi relations
  • Kingdom has given more economic aid to Islamabad than any other Muslim country, ex-envoy says

KARACHI: It is one small step for Imran Khan; a giant leap for Pakistan’s bilateral ties with the Kingdom.
Beginning Tuesday, in what would be his first foreign trip after taking office in August, Pakistan’s newly-installed prime minister will visit Saudi Arabia, before heading to the UAE.
Former diplomats, including those who served in Saudi Arabia, viewed the move as an attempt to strengthen the historic ties between Riyadh and Islamabad. “Pakistan has always enjoyed special relations with Saudi Arabia and the two governments continue to help each other whenever possible,” Shahid M. Amin, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the Kingdom, said.
Observing that the “next couple of days are very important”, Amin said PM Khan must keep in line with tradition by nurturing the bond between the two countries — just like every other prime minister before him.
He recalled instances when Pakistani troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia. “Similarly, when Pakistan faced an economic embargo in the aftermath of the nuclear blasts on May 28, 1998, it was KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] that generously extended economic help and provided free oil to the country for three years,” he told Arab News on Monday.
Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director of Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), said the visit was “basically a renewal of the past relations with the Saudi Arabia,” which, he added, had always been good.
And while PM Khan had once opposed the appointment of General (Retd.) Raheel Sharif as the head of the 39-nation Islamic military alliance, Gul said every move and decisions he makes now “should be well-calculated”. “Time has proven that the alliance Sharif is heading is against terrorism. Now…Khan will focus on the economic issues,” Amin said.