SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia will give its impoverished neighbour Yemen aid worth US$3.25 billion, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday.
"To ensure Yemen's security and stability, the kingdom will provide US$3.25 billion to support development projects there which will be agreed upon with the Yemeni side," he said at the opening of the Friends of Yemen meeting.
Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa urged at the meeting for aid for his country which was rocked by an uprising last year that forced former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in February.
"The hope is in the political and economic support needed to overcome the transitional period and put an end to the budget deficit," Basindawa said. "We seek your help, don't fail us."
Seven aid groups on Wednesday warned Western diplomats that Yemen was on the brink of a "catastrophic food crisis" and urged them to bolster efforts to salvage the situation.
"Yemen is on the brink of a catastrophic food crisis," the seven agencies which include Oxfam, CARE and Save the Children, said in a joint statement released ahead of Wednesday's meeting.
At least 10 million people, some 44 percent of the population, do not get "enough food to eat", the aid agencies said, adding that one in three children was "severely malnourished."
Yemen is expected to ask donors for about $10 billion in urgent aid at the one-day meeting.
Twenty-seven countries, including the six oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states, the United States and Britain, as well as international organisations, are attending the meeting.