US to stop aid in Yemen’s Houthi areas if militants don’t budge

Houthi troops ride on the back of a police patrol truck after participating in a Houthi gathering in Sanaa, Yemen February 19, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 February 2020

US to stop aid in Yemen’s Houthi areas if militants don’t budge

  • USAID threatened to suspend aid to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen
  • The UN calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

CAIRO: USAID said late Monday that it will suspend aid to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, where most of the country’s people live, if the militants don’t remove impediments obstructing aid operations.
A spokesperson said that the agency said it informed partners including UN agencies about the plan last week. The official said the suspension will start in late March if Houthis take no action.
“We continue to do everything we can to avoid a reduction in aid in northern Yemen,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with agency regulations.
The US provided about $700 million in aid to Yemen last year. It is among the largest donors to Yemen, where a UN aid program totaling $8.35 billion since 2015 is vital to keeping many Yemenis alive. The UN calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
As the war in Yemen enters its sixth year, 10 million people in the country are on the brink of famine and 80% of the population of 29 million need of aid, according to the UN More than 3 million people have been displaced, cholera epidemics have killed hundreds, and at least 2.2 million children under 5 suffer from severe malnutrition, the agency said.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control most of northern Yemen, have blocked half of the United Nations’ aid delivery programs in the war-torn country — a strong-arm tactic aimed at forcing the agencies to give them greater control over the humanitarian campaign.

Full steam ahead for Egypt-Sudan rail network

Updated 59 min 38 sec ago

Full steam ahead for Egypt-Sudan rail network

  • Gateway project will open continent to new trade and jobs, says Cairo minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir has discussed plans with Sudanese counterpart Hashem bin Auf to build a cross-border railway network between the two neighboring countries.

The pair discussed terms of a joint cooperation document for railway connectivity, which aims to provide funding for an economic, social and environmental feasibility study for the project. The planned network will extend from the Egyptian city of Aswan across the southern border to Sudan’s Wadi Halfa in its first phase.

Funding will be organized through cooperation between Egypt, Sudan and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

Al-Wazir signed the document and delivered it to the Sudanese ambassador in Cairo for signing by the country’s transport minister.

The two sides also discussed a number of road projects, including a prospective land road between Egypt and Chad through Sudan. 

The project aims to be a gateway for trade between the two countries, Chad and West Africa. 

The Cairo-Sudan-Cape Town road, which passes through nine African countries, was also mentioned by the ministers. Al-Wazir also said that Egypt is building a Cairo-Arqin road corridor inside its borders, which passes through the governorates of Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan, and then then extends to the Egyptian border, passing through the Toshka junctions to Arqin, parallel with Sudan.

He added that the new project is important in achieving land connectivity and increasing trade with African countries, as well as serving Egyptian and African citizens, opening new job opportunities and encouraging comprehensive development. The Sudanese side also requested cooperation with Egypt in maritime transport and the training of maritime cadres at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.

Al-Wazir said that Egypt will provide its capabilities to train the workers, whether through the Arab Academy, Egyptian ports or the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety.

The two sides also agreed to hold a joint meeting to follow up on the progress of other cooperation projects and to discuss the development of the Nile Valley Authority for River Navigation.

Al-Wazir’s team said that the coming period should include urgent plans to develop the authority, train river workers and provide support through specialized technical cadres.