Central Bank: Saudi coalition starving Yemen of cash

Central Bank head says ban on flights bringing in newly printed currency notes from Russia ‘strangling the economy’.

Al-Quaiti accuses the coalition of denying Yemen "needed liquidity" [File: Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters]

Yemen’s Central Bank has said the Saudi-led coalition is “strangling” the economy by preventing planes from flying in newly printed cash.

Since April, the alliance has banned 13 flights carrying money printed in Russia to the southern city of Aden, said Monasser al-Quaiti, Central Bank governor, in a statement issued on Sunday.

He accused the coalition of “strangling the Yemeni economy” and denying it “needed liquidity”, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The remark reflects a rift between the Aden-confined government of Yemen and the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the military coalition.

The war in Yemen explained in 3 minutes

Both are at war with the Shia Houthi fighters, who control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

But the UAE is believed to be at odds with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi over his embrace of the Islah Party, a local affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood group which the UAE views as a threat, and fighters loyal to the two sides have clashed in recent months.

The wrangling began when Hadi removed his onetime vice president and prime minister, Khaled Bahah, who was seen as an advocate of reconciliation with the Houthis and who was backed by UAE.

Hadi replaced him with Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a powerful military commander who is closely linked to Islah.

At a recent meeting with Yemeni tribal leaders in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Hadi accused the Emiratis of “dictating” candidates for security and military posts, according to two tribal leaders and a security official who attended the gathering.

Hadi said he used to comply with UAE wishes, but began to oppose them after their “meddling crossed all lines”, including attempts to remove Islah figures from the government and military, the attendees said.

Hadi said he complained to the Saudis, who have led the intervention on behalf of his government, but received no response, according to the attendees, who agreed to discuss the closed-door meeting on condition of anonymity.

INFOGRAPHIC – Yemen conflict: Who controls what

Incidentally, according to leaked emails published by Middle East Eye on Monday, Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, has told two former American officials that he “wants out” of the Yemen war.

At least 94 UAE soldiers have died in the conflict since it began two and a half years ago.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that cholera has killed 2,000 people and infected an estimated 500,000 people in Yemen.

Half the country’s health facilities are out of service, including many that were bombed by the coalition.

Government workers, including medics and rubbish collectors, have not received their salaries in nearly a year, further hindering efforts to combat the cholera outbreak.

War, famine and cholera: Is no one able to help Yemen? – Inside Story (25:00)

Source: AP