Russia to Join Friends of Yemen Meeting in Riyadh

Russia will take part in a Friends of Yemen ministerial meeting to be held on Wednesday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, a Foreign Ministry official said.

More than 40 countries and intergovernmental organizations will attend the talks, which are expected to focus on economic aid to post-revolutionary Yemen.

Presidential Middle East envoy Mikhail Bogdanov will represent Russia at the meeting.

Yemeni Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Muhammad Saadi has said his country was going to ask international donors to provide $10 billion to help the government fulfill its two-year plan to restore its economy.

Yemen saw mass anti-government protests last year, in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands were injured before President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled the country for more than 30 years, was forced out of power in November 2011. Early presidential elections were held in the country in February as part of a peace plan backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi became the country’s new president.

The Friends of Yemen group of countries was created during an international meeting in London in January 2010, in which some 20 countries, including Russia, took part. In a statement issued following the talks, the countries promised to help Yemen improve its social and economic situation and fight terrorism.

On Monday, more than 90 people were killed and some 220 were injured when a powerful blast hit the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. A suicide bomber dressed in an army uniform detonated his explosives during a rehearsal of a military parade on a square near the presidential palace on the eve of Yemen’s National Unity Day.

Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, one of the deadliest in the country’s history. Hadi has pledged to oust al-Qaeda militants from Yemen’s mostly lawless and restive southern and eastern provinces.


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