Economic support will lead to peace: Yemen VP

Economic support will lead to peace: Yemen VP

Abu Dhabi - He pointed out that his country has been ignored for over 50 years and thus it added more issues to the ongoing crisis.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Mon 18 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Jan 2016, 1:09 PM

Yemeni vice-president Khaled Al Bahah has called for stronger ties with its neighbouring states, in hopes of supporting the development of a stable and peaceful nation, while suggesting that the government expects to return to Yemen within the coming days, although calling it "wishful thinking".

During a press conference held on Tuesday in the Capital, Al Bahah urged for more economic support from Gulf countries in terms of investment projects.

He pointed out that his country has been ignored for over 50 years and thus it added more issues to the ongoing crisis.

"The message is clear," he said, adding, "For the past five decades conflicts in Yemen have been neglected, and this has led to a number of different wars."

"The neglect since the 1960s has helped rise the series of opposition groups within the nation, if the neglect continues then the conflict could equally continue," he added.

Al Bahah noted that although the country is facing difficult times, he still believes that through economic support and investments it will see a a light at the end of the tunnel quicker than imagined. "Yemen is a great problem for its neighbours, but it is also a great benefit," he added.

He explained that helping Yemen through a dynamic increase in the sectors of health, education and economy will also help lead the country to peace and stability.

"Every time we make a positive step forward, we face another setback," he pointed out.

"A plan to integrate Yemen in these subjects should be drawn by us and our brothers in the Gulf," he added.

He said that average income in the country is merely $900 a month, while individuals living in neighbouring states could receive as much as $40,000 a month. "The difference in numbers cannot be comprehended," he added.

He also noted that there are currently a number of ministers who remain in Yemen. However, he believes that those who left the country will return within days due to the support of the national army in the capital, Sana'a, which is backed up by the Saudi-led coalition.

"Eighty per cent of the Yemeni lands have not been conquered by the Houthis," Al Bahah said.

"We wish to avoid a forceful return, we do not want the war to continue. It is our ethical responsibility to look for a peaceful resolution through political negotiations," he added.

Al Bahah hopes that the positive progress and support by the Gulf towards his country will lead to a better future for its citizens. "After the many victories, which have been achieved in the past year, the government can focus on the economic side, including health, education, water and electricity."

He noted that the Yemeni government has so far set 20 billion Yemeni Riyals for the projects, in hopes of seeing some economic progress. On the other hand, the economic damages caused by Houthi rebels is drastic, adding that the central bank in Sana'a has had 1.5 trillion Yemeni Riyals withdrawn by the end of 2015.

However, he pointed out that currently there is no set date for the next round of UN-sponsored peace talks between the Yemeni government and the rebels, which was meant to initially take place on January 14, but was postponed after the Houthi rebels rejected setting 200 prisoners free. 

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