Yemeni President in Saudi Arabia before aid meeting

Saleh's visit comes ahead of a meeting in Riyadh on Saturday of the wealthy six-member Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss aid to Yemen.

Yemeni President in Saudi Arabia before aid meeting

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh visits Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to try to persuade Riyadh to lead Gulf Arab donors by example in assisting his impoverished country.

Saleh's visit comes ahead of a meeting in Riyadh on Saturday of the wealthy six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss aid to Yemen.

A Yemeni diplomat said his country hopes to raise $40 billion from international donors for its 2011-2015 economic development plan. In a 2006-2010 plan, GCC countries contributed $3.7 billion of $5.7 billion granted by international donors.

About 35 percent of Yemen's 23 million people live in poverty.

"Saudi Arabia is the GCC's most influential member and Yemen's closest neighbour. We hope that it will lead by example and use its influence within the GCC to assist our country," the diplomat said.

"This will prove crucial not just within the GCC but also with other international donors to deliver on their commitments made towards Yemen," he added.

Saleh was expected to assure King Abdullah that Yemen's army would be more vigilant in monitoring the border "to shore a ceasefire between Saudi Arabia and Yemeni Houthis and prevent Al Qaeda members from sneaking into the kingdom."

"The security of Yemen means the security of the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf," Saudi Al-Watan newspaper wrote in a commentary about Saleh's visit.

Yemen, which agreed to a ceasefire with the northern fightersthis month, is due to deploy along the border according to the terms of the ceasefire. The Yemeni diplomat said Saleh would also discuss with Riyadh a prisoner return, but did not elaborate.

Yemeni fighters have handed over three Saudi soldiers under the terms of the ceasefire with Sanaa, and were expected to release two more captive soldiers. Riyadh said on Thursday that it was holding 500 'infiltrators', but did not disclose their identities, why they were held or when they would be freed.


Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Şubat 2010, 14:19
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