Saudi Arabia, UAE, US, UK condemn Houthi’s 'illegal interference' in Yemen’s banks

A Yemeni money exchange employee counts local currency at an exchange office in Sanaa. (AFP file photo)
Updated 13 February 2019

Saudi Arabia, UAE, US, UK condemn Houthi’s 'illegal interference' in Yemen’s banks

  • The Economic Quartet Committee on Yemen met in Riyadh to discuss Yemen's economic challenges
  • The quartet also called for the stabilizing of the Yemeni Riyal

JEDDAH: The US, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the UK issued have strongly condemned the Houthi’s “illegal interference” in Yemen’s banks.

The Economic Quartet Committee on Yemen met in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss the challenges facing the central bank and the broader economic and humanitarian situation.

“In light of recent reports of illegal interference in the operations of a number of local banks in Sana'a and the arrests of banking staff, the four nations strongly condemn these and other illegal acts carried out by the Houthis that pose a threat to civilians and the economy of Yemen,’ the quartet’s ambassadors said in a joint statement. 

“The four nations firmly request lifting the imposed regulations on the local banks in Sanaa, which impede commercial imports and desperately needed humanitarian assistance.”

The quartet also called for the stabilizing of the Yemeni Riyal and strengthening Yemen's economy by “consolidating revenues, paying all public salaries, and continuing to strengthen the Central Bank of Yemen.”

Since the Iran-backed Houthis seized Sanaa in 2014, sparking the war, they have been accused of squandering state funds and mismanaging finances in the areas they control. 

The internationally recognized government moved the central bank to Aden in 2016, accusing the Houthis of losing $4 billion of bank reserves on the conflict.

Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen who chaired Tuesday’s meeting, said the central bank and the country’s battered economy will benefit from a stimulus package.

The meeting was held at the headquarters of the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen on Monday.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia, both members of the military coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and the UK and US are expected to discuss Yemen and a ceasefire deal in Hodeidah at the Middle East summit in Warsaw that starts on Wednesday.

Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

Updated 21 October 2019

Pentagon chief visits Saudi Arabia as tensions simmer with Iran

  • The visit comes days after Pentagon said it was bolstering its forces in the Kingdom amid tensions with Iran
  • In October, the Pentagon said it was deploying new US troops to Saudi Arabia following attacks on Saudi oil plants

RIYADH: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, with tensions simmering between the United States and Iran, and Russia seeking to increase its regional influence.
Al-Ekhbariyah television gave no details on the previously unannounced visit, which comes after Esper visited Afghanistan.
Esper is likely to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his first trip to the key Middle East ally since he took office this summer, a visit intended partly to reassure Riyadh over bilateral ties.

US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
The United States has deployed military forces to Saudi Arabia to bolster the Kingdom’s defenses after an attack on oil sites last month.
The Sept. 14 attack knocked out two major processing facilities of state oil giant Aramco in Khurais and Abqaiq, roughly halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production.
Washington condemned the attacks as a “act of war” but neither the Saudis nor the United States have overtly retaliated.

Esper said that two fighter squadrons and additional missile defense batteries were being sent to Saudi Arabia, bringing to about 3,000 the total number of troops deployed there since last month.
Despite the additional troops, there are questions about the US commitment to allies in the region after Trump announced a sudden withdrawal from northeastern Syria, opening the door for Russia to increase its influence in the Middle East.
A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States still wanted to be seen as the partner of choice in the region and Russia was not as dependable, whether it be the level of training or the military equipment it can provide.
President Vladimir Putin signalled Moscow’s growing Middle East clout last week on his first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade, buoyed by Russian military gains in Syria, strong ties with Riyadh’s regional rivals and energy cooperation.
(With Reuters and AFP)