US demands protection of the armistice: salaries must be paid
Days after the Reuters news agency, citing what it called “two well-informed sources”, spoke about the return of virtual meetings between Riyadh and Sanaa under Omani sponsorship. Sources in Sana’a confirmed the presence of American and British pressure on Saudi Arabia, with the aim of removing obstacles that prevent progress in implementing what the armistice stipulates, in addition to resolving the stop of employees’ salaries. Also, resolve the monetary and financial division between Sanaa and Aden.
According to the sources, Washington and London stress the need to “create an appropriate environment to contribute to transforming the armistice into a comprehensive ceasefire.” The British Embassy’s in Yemen called for ending the suffering of state employees and paying their salaries, respecting the independence of the Central Bank, and putting efforts that would make the economy stable.
Powerful sources affiliated with the Saudi-Emirati coalition expressed their dismay at talking about the return of direct negotiations, describing it as a circumvention of the tasks of the so-called “Presidential Council”, which was tasked on the seventh of last April to open lines of communication with Sana’a and arrange negotiations with it. Thus, this made the so-called “Southern Transitional Council” reject any undeclared consultations that aim to return the Central Bank to Sana’a. The latter responded with a sharp statement accusing the “Transitional” of targeting the bank and its role in maintaining monetary and financial stability. Then the British embassy announced that the escalation of the discourse against the “Central Bank” is “alarming.”
In the same context, diplomatic sources stated that during a meeting between the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al Jaber, and the new American ambassador, Stephen Fagin, the latter set a new condition for the payment of salaries in the areas under the control of Sanaa, which is to exclude the military sections. This comes at a time when the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grodenberg, revealed arrangements for a round of negotiations on the economic and security files, including the issue of salary disbursement, for which the head of the Sanaa negotiating delegation, Mohammed Abdulsalam, had proposed a solution represented in the “unification of oil and gas revenues”, that are under the control of other parties, with the revenues of the port of Hodeidah.
The European Union had previously called, the so-called government of Maeen Abdul-Malik, when its ambassadors met with the Minister of Finance in that government and the Governor of the Central Bank in Aden at the beginning of this month, to put an end to corruption, pay suspended salaries to employees, and provide basic services to citizens, expressing its readiness to provide better management of resources and expenditures.
While Sanaa is still studying Grundberg’s proposal to open roads in Taiz and other governorates, the Supreme Political Council stressed the need for the United Nations to play an active role in ending the suffering of state employees, by putting pressure on the other side to supply all the resources of oil, gas resources, customs fees and taxes to the “salary” account, instead of looting and supplying them to private accounts.
Until the first quarter of 2015, the state’s general budget depended on sovereign revenues, in addition to grants, aid, and surplus profits. At that time, oil and gas revenues represented 55% of revenues, while international aid, gifts and grants covered 11%, taxes and customs revenues were 25%, and the profits of state-owned companies and factories were 6%, in addition to other revenues of 3%. Despite the destruction of a number of its branches by the raids carried out by the “coalition” and the misleading campaigns against its previous leadership, the Yemeni Central Bank in Sana’a continued to pay the salaries of state employees in various governorates without exception, and was able to maintain the exchange rate of the local currency against foreign currencies. It was also able to cover the basic imports bill in hard currencies until the decision was taken to involve it in the conflict and turn it into a war tool in the hands of the Yemenis.