Funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down: Aid chief

A funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down in the next few weeks, the organization's emergency relief coordinator said.(File/AFP)
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Updated 16 April 2020

Funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down: Aid chief

  • The UN relief coordinator also thanked Saudi Arabia for its pledge last week of $500 million for the UN-led response in Yemen and $25 million for COVID-19 activities
  • Martin Griffiths said he expects the opposing parties in the country to formally adopt agreements on a nationwide ceasefire soon

LONDON: A funding shortage means UN programs in Yemen will start closing down in the next few weeks, the organization's emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said on Thursday.  

“Of the UN’s 41 major programmes, 31 will start closing down in the next few weeks if we can’t secure additional funds. This means we will have to start eliminating many of the activities that may offer Yemenis’ best chance to avoid COVID-19,”  Lowcock told the UN Security Council.

He added that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will have to stop immediate assistance for families displaced by conflict or natural disasters which means that “up to 1 million displaced people would not receive critical supplies.”   

Nutrition programmes will also be cut, Lowcock added, and this will affect 260,000 severely malnourished children and 2 million other children who are moderately malnourished in the country. 

The UN relief coordinator also thanked Saudi Arabia for its pledge last week of $500 million for the UN-led response in Yemen and $25 million for COVID-19 activities.

Meanwhile, United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said on Thursday he expects the opposing parties in the country to formally adopt "in the immediate future" agreements on a nationwide ceasefire, key economic and humanitarian measures and a resumption of political talks.
Griffiths said he has been negotiating with the parties on the texts for the past two weeks. "We expect them to agree on and formally adopt these agreements in the immediate future," he told the UN Security Council.

Griffiths told the UN Security Council he has been negotiating with the parties on the texts of his proposals for the past two weeks. "We expect them to agree on and formally adopt these agreements in the immediate future," he said.
He said the economic and humanitarian measures could include: release of prisoners and detainees, opening Sanaa airport, paying civil servant salaries, opening access roads, and ensuring entry at Hodeidah ports for ships carrying commodities that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
"The conversations we had with the two parties, and our consultations with the Saudi-led Coalition among other international actors ... are continuous, detailed and constructive," Griffith said.
He said "good progress" was being made and the United Nations was redoubling its efforts to bridge outstanding differences "before we convene them at a meeting where ... these agreements will be tabled, confirmed - I hope - and published."

(With Reuters)


Iran dismisses US efforts at UN sanctions as currency drops

Updated 20 September 2020

Iran dismisses US efforts at UN sanctions as currency drops

  • Iran’s currency dropped to 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran dismissed US efforts to restore all UN sanctions on the country as mounting economic pressure from Washington pushed the local currency down to its lowest level ever on Sunday.
Iran’s currency dropped to 272,500 to the US dollar at money exchange shops across Tehran.
The rial has lost more than 30 percent of its value to the dollar since June as sweeping US sanctions on Iran continue to crush its ability to sell oil globally. Iran’s currency was at 32,000 rials to the dollar at the time of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which was signed by the Obama administration but which the Trump administration pulled the US from.
As the currency plummeted, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the Trump administration’s declaration Saturday that all UN sanctions against Iran have been reimposed because Tehran is not complying with the nuclear deal.
The US move has been rejected as illegal by most of the rest of the world and sets the stage for an ugly showdown at the world body ahead of its annual General Assembly this week.
Even before the US declaration, other Security Council members had vowed to ignore it. They say the US lost legal standing to invoke snapback sanctions when President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and began reimposing US sanctions on Iran.
The Iranian government spokesman said the snapback sanctions have only happened in “the fantastical world” of the Trump administration. He said the US stands on the wrong side of history.
“They are attempting to make everyone believe it, but nobody is buying it except for themselves,” Khatibzadeh said during his weekly press briefing on Sunday.
“It is a television show whose sole presenter, viewers and those cheering it on are Mr. Pompeo himself and a handful of others,” the spokesman said, referring to the US secretary of state.
“Tehran’s message to Washington is clear: return to the international community, return to your commitments and stop bullying so the international community will accept you,” he added.
The White House plans to issue an executive order on Monday spelling out how the US will enforce the restored sanctions, and the State and Treasury departments are expected to outline how foreign individuals and businesses will be penalized for violations.
Tensions are running high between Iran and the US, particularly since a US strike in January killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, prompting Tehran to retaliate with a ballistic missile strike on Iraqi bases housing American troops.