LONDON: ARAB NEWS
Published — Saturday 9 March 2013
Last update 9 March 2013 3:46 am
Saudi and Yemeni ministers yesterday pledged support for reconstruction efforts in Yemen.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and head of the kingdom’s delegation to the ministerial meeting of the Friends of Yemen in London Nizar Madani, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi held a joint press conference in London at the conclusion of the meetings of the Group of Friends of Yemen at the ministerial level.
“We in fact feel a lot of optimism for the international will to help Yemen, but we are looking forward to translating this international will to steps on the ground,” Madani said.
He pointed out that the international community pledged last year $ 9.7 billion to support reconstruction efforts and political transition in Yemen. He said it is time to fulfill those promises, especially since Yemen has made significant progress since the adoption of the initiative of the GCC. The progress included forming a government of national reconciliation and launching a national dialogue to oversee the drafting of a new constitution followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.
“This process is now on track,” he said.
He added that “despite all achieved gains and accomplishments, there is still a lot of challenges and risks, and there is still much to be done, both at the level of security and economy.”
Madani called for the continuation of international support.
He said: "We talked at the meeting about the assistance provided by the Kingdom in the past five years, which exceeded $ 3 billion." The Kingdom also announced in meetings in 2012 new pledges totaling $ 3.5 billion, including a $ 1 billion as deposit in the Central Bank of Yemen to support currency stability in Yemeni in addition to the allocation of $ 1 billion and $ 750 million for financing projects and humanitarian aid as well as $ 500 million to finance and guarantee Saudi exports.
The Saudi Fund for Development contributed $ 100 million to support the electricity sector and a package of aid to finance development projects.
Madani highlighted Saudi-Yemeni cooperation in the field of fighting terrorism.
Hague said the United Kingdom is proud to play a leading role in supporting Yemen, adding that Yemen is now half-way through a peaceful transition and is on the road to full elections in 2014.
Al-Qirbi commended Saudi Arabia's generous support for Yemen.