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Saudi Arabia Sends $250 Million to Prop Up Yemeni Government

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia said Sunday it had disbursed $250 million in aid to the internationally recognized government in Yemen, which the Gulf kingdom has backed in a war against Houthi rebels.

The money follows an initial payment of the same amount announced in August, when Riyadh committed to provide $1.2 billion to ease the government’s budget deficit and pay civil servants salaries.

“The second batch of the grant to support addressing the budget deficit for the Yemeni government was transferred to the Central Bank of Yemen in Aden, amounting to $250 million to support salaries, wages and expenses,” Mohammed al-Jaber, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, said on social media. 

The Yemeni government relocated to Aden, a port city on the southern coast, after the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014. 

In 2015 Saudi Arabia mobilized an international coalition intended to oust the Houthis. 

The ensuing war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, either directly in the fighting or indirectly due to a maritime and air blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia.  

A U.N.-brokered cease-fire in April 2022 brought a sharp reduction in hostilities. The truce officially expired six months later, though fighting has largely remained on hold.

The Aden-based government has long struggled to finance basic services and pay salaries. 

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said last year that “economic warfare” between the warring parties had compounded the country’s problems.

A surprise rapprochement deal announced in March between Saudi Arabia and Iran raised hopes for a durable cease-fire in Yemen, though so far, no breakthrough has been announced.

The Houthis have in recent months launched attacks on Red Sea shipping, describing them as a form of support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Israel is at war with Hamas. 

U.S. and British forces last month began a series of strikes aimed at reducing the Houthis’ ability to target vessels transiting the key Red Sea trade route. 

Analysts have warned that rising tensions in the region could derail efforts to broker peace in Yemen.

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