KSRelief chief: Yemeni ports under legitimate control open to aid

KSRelief General Supervisor Abdullah Al-Rabeeah addresses a high-level meeting in Rome on Friday. (SPA)
Updated 18 November 2017

KSRelief chief: Yemeni ports under legitimate control open to aid

ROME: Yemeni ports under the control of the legitimate government can receive humanitarian aid, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), has said.
Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom had offered the Saudi Port of Jazan to be used along with other ports to help the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen.
Al-Rabeeah, who is at a high-level meeting in Rome for the Partnership for Permanent Peace in Yemen, condemned the 16 attacks of Houthi militias against UN and other relief organizations during 2015-2017, which involved murder, kidnapping, imprisonment and closure of offices, as well as extortion and looting.
The Houthi militias had closed ports and offices of international organizations working in Yemen and seized 65 ships, 124 relief convoys, and 628 aid shipments. He said the Houthi militias were targeting residential areas, humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers.
Al-Rabeeah said that the UN and international community should do more to hold militias accountable for hampering humanitarian work, and for their targeting of civilians and use of children in war crimes. Houthi militias had recruited more than 20,000 Yemeni children, according to human rights organizations. He said that the Kingdom was rehabilitating 2,000 children who were previously recruited by the militias.
Al-Rabeeah said that total aid provided by the Kingdom to Yemen from April 2015 to October 2017 reached $8.27 billion, noting that (KSRelief) delivered aid used airdrops of food and medical aid in the city of Taiz to break the blockade of the militias.
KSRelief delivered 161 projects in Yemen through 86 local and international partners. These projects included food security, nutrition, shelters, social support, and environmental sanitation.
Al-Rabeeah said that KSRelief was particularly interested in programs helping women and children, and ran 148 such programs in Yemen. KSRelief work covered 80 projects in education, protection, food security, health, nutrition, water, environmental sanitation, and personal hygiene.
Al-Rabeeah said that the Kingdom had been working to limit the spread of cholera in Yemen. It donated more than $76 million to the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population, the WHO, and UNICEF. KSRelief sent a convoy carrying more than 550,000 tons of medical equipment to Yemeni regions to fight the epidemic. The rate of recovery, he said, had reached 99.5 percent, which meant many organizations could close Cholera treatment centers in some areas.
He also called on UN and humanitarian organizations in Yemen to decentralize their humanitarian efforts and avoid opening their headquarters in one city only.


Saudi candidate through to next round of WTO race

Updated 25 min 47 sec ago

Saudi candidate through to next round of WTO race

  • Tuwaijri is among three women and one other man bidding to become the next director-general of the WTO
  • The other remaining candidates are from Kenya, Nigeria, South Korea, and the UK

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s candidate Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri has advanced to the second round of the leadership selection process, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Friday.
Tuwaijri is among three women and one other man bidding to become the next director-general of the WTO.

The remaining candidates are Kenyan minister, Amina Mohamed, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee and British ex-minister, Liam Fox.

Kusay Alkhunaizi, a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) expert, said that the contest for the next phase of the WTO presidency process would be limited to candidates from Britain, South Korea, Kenya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Candidates from Mexico, Egypt, and Moldova stepped out of the race at the end of the first voting round.

The second-round results will depend largely on the lobbying efforts of the candidates and on the proposed program as voters weigh the plans of each contender during this critical period for WTO due to the COVID-19 crisis and trade tensions between the US and China.

Alkhunaizi said that Al-Tuwaijri has moved to the second stage along with four other candidates.

Al-Tuwaijri worked in the private sector as a distinguished international banker, in the public sector as the minister of economy and planning, and at the Royal Court. He was engaged in the nationwide economic transformation (Vision 2030) for the Saudi economy, the largest in the Middle East.

Alkhunaizi said that the challenges faced by candidates were huge and this round of elections was the most sensitive in the life of the WTO. Aside from COVID-19 and trade tensions, technology taxation and equity of trade between nations were some of the bigger challenges.

When Al-Tuwaijri gave his initial candidate press conference in July, there was a telling moment when he described the need to stabilize the WTO. As he spoke, he gripped his hands together as if pulling back on a joystick.

Al-Tuwaijri never directly referred to his early career as a fighter pilot, but it was clear from the language that he used and the analogies he drew that it was a formative experience and has informed his thinking in his subsequent career in business and government.

He sees the current crisis in global trade and within the WTO itself as an opportunity for reform. Similarly the backdrop of a global economy desperately trying to right itself in the wake of the coronavirus is a chance to provide the motivation to get things done.

The former fighter pilot, banker and minister of economy and planning sees the current shortcomings of the organization and the rise of global trade disputes as largely a failure of process.

For the 25-year-old body to be effective, Al-Tuwaijri believes that it must deliver on its trade negotiation mandate so that countries do not circumvent it and opt for more belligerent ways of settling disputes.

Al-Tuwaijri highlighted the dangers this trend represents to the world order in his vision for the WTO. He sees growing inequality within and between nations as spurring the rise of nationalism worldwide.