Emergency Plan to Recover Yemen Economy Discussed by UN

Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen said the agency is discussing an emergency plan to stem the rial’s fall and recover the economy.

“There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this economic issue is now the overwhelmingly most important priority,” he told Reuters on Thursday.

“Within the UN we’re talking about the need for such a master plan … an immediate set of measures over weeks which the World Bank, IMF, UN agencies, the Gulf obviously, the government of Yemen could come together to discuss,” he said.

For his part, Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday it was important to confront the economic deterioration in the country.

“After (the Iran-backed) Houthis suffered from defeats at several military fronts in Yemen, they are now turning to the economic front,” he warned.

Earlier this week, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered that $200 million be deposited in Yemen’s central bank to help shore up the weak the rial, which has lost more than half its value against the US dollar.

Authorities sought to boost liquidity last year by printing money, but it plunged from 250 to the dollar after the first batch of notes was rolled out. It was trading at around 700 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy hopes to resume consultations with the Yemeni warring sides by November.

Griffiths wants to logistically prepare for those talks to avoid more “last-minute surprises,” and therefore, avoid preconditions placed by the Houthis, who did not attend the last round of consultations that were held on September 6.

Asked if the Yemeni government had received an invitation to attend the next round of consultations, Yamani told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Not yet.”

The minister said: “Griffiths is obliged to provide guarantees and assure that Houthis would take part in the talks and would not escape from peace obligations.”

Yamani added that the Yemeni government supports, in principle, the UN envoy’s peace efforts and his efforts to bring the Houthis to the negotiation table to discuss measures for building trust among the warring parties.

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