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Block cash for separatists, Yemen to ask Saudi

Riyadh, June 1, 2009

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will ask King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to block the flow of funds from Yemeni expatriates to separatists in the south, a Yemeni government source has said.

Yemen, which is trying to shake off an image of violence to promote its tourism sector, has witnessed clashes between government forces and protesters in the south, where secessionist sentiment is strong.

"Saleh will be discussing the situation in Yemen with King Abdullah, and the activities of some of the Yemeni opposition living in Saudi Arabia," the Yemeni government source said yesterday (May 31).

The talks will tackle "measures against individuals raising donations to support the protests in the south", he said before Saleh's departure to the kingdom, Yemen's wealthy neighbour which hosts tens of thousands of Yemeni expatriates, mainly labourers seeking higher incomes.

Saudi state news agency SPA quoted Saleh as saying at the start of his visit Saudi investors should invest more in Yemen and stability in his country was important for the rest of the Gulf.

"The strength and stability of Yemen is a strength for the kingdom and its brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)," he said, according to SPA.

Saudi Arabia fears instability in Yemen could allow it to become a launch pad for a revival of a 2003-2006 campaign by al Qaeda militants to destabilise the rule of the Al Saud family.

"The Saudis are really concerned about instability in Yemen.You hear it all the time from them," said a Western diplomat in Riyadh.

Last week, minority Shi'ites asked the Saudi government to end discrimination in the remote Najran province bordering Yemen.

In 2000, Najran was the scene of clashes between the police and hundreds of Ismailis, followers of a Shi'ite sect.

"I think Saudi Arabia is very worried about what is happening in Yemen because Saudi Arabia has a 800-km (494-mile) long border with Yemen," said Khaled Dakhil, a Saudi political analyst.

"I think there are so many things they (Saudis) could do; intelligence, political, financial (help)." – Reuters




Tags: Saudi Arabia | yemen | Riyadh | cash | Separatists |

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