“Friends of Yemen” Gather in Saudi Arabia
Following Monday’s suicide attack at a military parade drill in Sana’a, the “Friends of Yemen” gathered in Riyadh to provide political and financial support for Yemen. The coalition is co-sponsored by Britain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen with 27 countries and multiple international aid organizations included as well. The event is set to address Yemen’s worsening humanitarian conditions and political instability. Jerry Farrell, Save the Children’s director in Yemen, said, “Political instability, conflict and high prices have left families across the country going hungry… unless urgent humanitarian action is taken, Yemen will be plunged into a hunger crisis of catastrophic proportions.”
In response, Saudi Arabia has pledged $3.25 billion in aid, and other Gulf states contributed as well, bringing the aid to $4 billion. ”I assert one more time our support to Yemen to back all the phases of the political initiative to help achieve security, stability and prosperity in facing the threats of extremism and terrorism,” stated Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. Britain also responded that it would increase the aid already provided to Yemen by $44 million. The U.S. State Department released a statement detailing the break down of financial aid for Yemen in FY 2012. According to Yemeni Finance Minister Sakhr Ahmed al-Wajeeh, Yemen is likely to run a $2.5 billion budget deficit this year. Yemeni news sources reported the Planning and International Minister Mohammad Al-Saadi saying Yemen needs $10 billion from donors to fund its infrastructure and services.
In other news, Reporters Without Borders sent an open letter to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi concerning a proposed law to regulate private broadcasting and electronic media. The letter addresses the categorizing of private and public media outlets as different entities; a restrictive licensing system; lack of independence in the checks and sanctions that can be imposed; vague language used; and the scant attention paid to electronic media.