AL-MUKALLA: Rashad Al-Alimi, the chairman of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, expressed gratitude to the Saudi leadership on Thursday for the latest financial assistance package to bolster his country’s economy, a day after his government pledged to use the aid efficiently.
The official news agency SABA reported that the Yemeni leader wrote a letter to Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman in which he thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for $1.2 billion in financial aid to help the Yemeni government pay public employees and import fuel and food.
“It sent a clear message that Yemen has loyal brothers and that the Kingdom remains at the forefront of efforts to restore state institutions and achieve the just peace that the Yemeni people deserve,” the leader was quoted as saying.
Yemenis say the new financial aid package has helped the riyal recover and saved the government from bankruptcy after Houthi drone attacks on oil facilities halted crude exports, the government’s primary source of revenue.
The Iran-backed Houthis have also prohibited local traders from utilizing government ports to import products, as well as gas imports from government-controlled Marib city, depriving the government of alternative cash streams.
Yemen’s government on Wednesday pledged to implement economic reforms, in addition to effectively dispersing the Saudi package in order to fulfill its goals of strengthening the state budget and boosting food security.
“The CoM (Cabinet of Ministers) reiterated the government’s commitment to fully implement the provisions of the budget support agreement according to the defined timeline, and its determination to implement comprehensive reforms with expected regional and international support,” SABA reported.
Meanwhile, Omani negotiators arrived in Houthi-controlled Sanaa on Thursday to discuss peace proposals with Yemeni militia leaders amid intensifying diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen.
Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdul Salam said that he and a group of Omani negotiators had arrived in Sanaa to consult with Houthi leaders regarding the resumption of the peace process and the resolution of difficult issues.
The arrival of the Omani delegation occurred after Hans Grundberg, the UN Yemen envoy, urged the Houthis and the internationally recognized government of Yemen to translate their “general willingness” to achieve peace in Yemen into concrete steps to achieve that objective by working to resume a comprehensive Yemeni political process.
“I call on the parties to refrain from escalatory rhetoric and to continue to use and build on dialogue channels established under the truce through the Military Coordination Committee to de-escalate incidents,” the UN envoy said in his briefing to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
During a meeting with Al-Alimi in Riyadh on Wednesday, Tim Lenderking, the US Yemen envoy, and Steven Fagin, the US ambassador to Yemen, discussed peace efforts, expressed their support for the Yemeni government, and praised its backing for the unloading of the deteriorating FSO Safer tanker.
Peace efforts in Yemen have mostly stalled since October when the Houthis refused to renew the UN-brokered truce and also launched drone assaults on oil installations in government-controlled Hadramout and Shabwa, as well as refusing to lift their siege of Taiz.