Saudi Arabia pledges $10bn to rebuild Yemen, claims president
Saudi Arabia has pledged $10bn to aid reconstruction efforts in war-torn Yemen, the Yemeni president claimed on Wednesday.
Abd Rabbuh Hadi, who is currently operating from the southern city of Aden, spoke on Wednesday evening to officials including Yemeni prime minister Ahmed Abid bin Daghr and a number of provincial governors.
"This huge amount will be aimed at reconstructing liberated areas, and includes a deposit of two billion dollars to the central bank to support the national currency," Hadi told the meeting in Aden.
Hadi promised the money would be used for "electricity, water, health, education, roads and communication, taking local priorities into account".
"Citizens will sense the presence of local authorities, and there will be stability and rebuilding," he added.
Hadi returned to Aden on Sunday following a week-long trip to Saudi Arabia.
There had been no official confirmation from the Saudi authorities by the time of publication.
Large areas of Yemen have been devastated by a war between Saudi Arabia, which backs President Hadi, and Houthi rebels who overran the capital in September 2014.
Forces allied to Hadi made gains around the Red Sea coastal town of Mokha in heavy fighting overnight as they rebuffed a rebel counter-offensive, a military source said on Thursday.
Government forces captured Yakhtul, 14km north of Mokha, and Jabal Nar, 10km to the east, consolidating their grip on the town they overran on 10 February, the military source told AFP.
Despite nearly two years of military support from a Saudi-led coalition, government forces are largely restricted to the south and areas along the Saudi border.
The rebels still hold the capital and much of the central and northern highlands as well as most of the Red Sea coast.
The government's next goal is the main Red Sea port city of Hodeida, a vital conduit for UN-supervised aid deliveries to rebel-held areas.
The UN warned this week that seven million people are close to starvation in Yemen, with military escalations putting civilians further at risk.