Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered a $2 billion transfer to the Yemeni central bank, according to reports, as the Kingdom looks to shore up the economy of its war-torn southern neighbor.
The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information (MoCI) said in a statement that the money is meant “to address the deteriorating economic situation” in Yemen. “All of this money has been provided with the aim of boosting Yemen’s financial and economic situation while bolstering the Yemeni riyal,” the Saudi MoCI said.
“As the value of the riyal goes up, the living conditions of Yemeni citizens will change for the better,” it added.
A source close to the Saudi government told Reuters that the payment was “not a loan, it’s a deposit and the legitimate Yemeni government will not have to pay it back.”
The move follows a plea by Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher for urgent assistance to prevent Yemen’s currency from collapsing.
“Now, and not tomorrow, to save the Yemeni people from definite hunger,” he tweeted, according to CNN.
In November, Saudi Arabia faced growing international pressure from the U.N., U.S. Congress and global media outlets to unconditionally lift its blockade of Yemen, amid warnings of a serious deterioration to the already dire humanitarian situation there. The blockade was imposed after a Iran-supplied ballistic missile was launched by Houthi rebels toward Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has already poured billions of dollars into the war to restore to power the legitimate UN-recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. An exact figure of the cost of the war for Saudi Arabia is not known, but some analysts have estimated that it may cost up to $175 million a month or more.