Yemen Central Bank: Saudi-led Coalition ‘Strangling’ Economy

Yemen’s Central Bank accused a Saudi-led coalition, the internationally recognized government’s top backer, of blocking flights that are bringing in cash and “strangling” the economy.

The accusations reflect increasing divisions threatening the alliance between the coalition and Yemen’s government – even though the two are united in fighting a war against Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels.

For the past two years, the Saudi-led coalition has waged an extensive campaign in Yemen against the Houthis, under the pretext of restoring President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power. The war has killed over 10,000 civilians, displaced 3 million people, and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

The Houthis forced Hadi into exile and displaced his government to the southern Yemeni port city of Aden in 2015. From its base in the south, Hadi’s followers have recently also engaged in a power struggle with the United Arab Emirates, a pillar of the Saudi-led coalition.

In a strongly worded statement, Central Bank Governor Mansr al-Qaiti on Sunday accused the coalition of banning 13 flights carrying cash to Aden since April, “without justification or clear reason.”

He expressed “deep regret for such impediments,” saying they undermine the bank’s daily business and accused the coalition of “strangling the Yemeni economy” and blocking the much “needed liquidity.”

Yemen is also facing a massive cholera outbreak, compounded by uncollected trash and contaminated water wells. International aid groups say medical intervention has been delayed due to unpaid government employees and half of the country’s health facilities are out of service. Yemeni medical professionals, garbage collectors and others have not received their salaries since September.

Since the end of April, around 2,000 people have died and nearly half a million have been infected with cholera in Yemen.

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