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Yemen PM calls for international aid fund

Yemeni government proposes an international fund to aid the impoverished nation whose economy is on the verge of collapse after nearly 11 months of unrest

AFP , Saturday 24 Dec 2011
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Yemen's prime minister called on Saturday for the creation of an international fund to aid the impoverished nation whose economy is on the verge of collapse after nearly 11 months of unrest.

"The government is going to try to convince its brother countries and friends to create a special international fund for Yemen," Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa told parliament, according to the official Saba news agency.

Unveiling the plans of his unity cabinet that is tasked with managing Yemen for a two-year transition period, the prime minister said the special fund would aim to repair public services in the impoverished country, which is also battling an Al-Qaeda-linked insurgency in the south.

Providing Yemenis with an adequate supply of oil, gas, water and electricity was one of the key priorities listed by the premier.

Basindawa heads a national unity government that took power on December 10 following a deal that requires the long-serving president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to leave office in February.

Hundreds of people have died since protests against Saleh's regime broke out at the end of January.

Basindawa also pledged to provide aid to the families of the "martyrs" who have been killed during the unrest and give financial assistance to the unemployed, without specifying how such initiatives would be financed.

The government, which expects to hold presidential elections on February 21, will also work "to restore security, good governance and fight corruption" in a "civil, democratic and modern state," he said.

The prime minister promised to open a national dialogue on Yemen's future that will include young protesters, some of whom have continued to demonstrate against an immunity deal handed to Saleh and his allies in exchange for his departure from power.

"The government will work with the international community to combat terrorism and organised crime," Basindawa added, confirming Yemen's alliance with the United States in its battle against Al-Qaeda.

Parliament is set to debate the prime minister's proposals from Monday.

Last week, UN agencies said nearly four million Yemenis will be affected by the country's political and economic crisis in 2012, more than half of whom will suffer from acute food shortages.

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