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Yemen's Al-Alimi Wages War of 'Patience,' Services; Replaces Polarization with Harmony

Yemen's Al-Alimi Wages War of 'Patience,' Services; Replaces Polarization with Harmony

Thursday, 28 July, 2022 - 08:30
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Presidential Leadership Council chairman Dr. Rashad al-Alimi in April. (SPA)

The image of chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Dr. Rashad al-Alimi shaking hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on April 7 presented strong motivation to the Council, which assumed power on that same night.

Talking about the PLC's achievements in its first 100 days in power may prove difficult given that Yemen remains the captive of war. Moreover, the PLC has been bequeathed a bitter legacy that no council or leader would wish upon themselves.

Many wars are being fought by the PLC. The leading body has launched a war for development and another for services. Sometimes, the PLC also leads a war of “patience” with close allies at meetings.

Al-Alimi and his seven deputies took over the leadership of the PLC with one goal in mind: Transitioning Yemen from war to peace.

It proceeded to hold meetings and began to conduct its work from the interim Yemeni capital, Aden.

Yemenis everywhere began to listen to state addresses delivered by al-Alimi on national and religious occasions. They also communicated with the PLC president directly, bringing back the spirit of the state and some hope.

The PLC was able to emerge with a package of development projects that Saudi Arabia and the UAE pledged to provide and support.

During a foreign tour, al-Alimi succeeding in returning Arab interest in Yemen.

According to observers, al-Alimi’s reception of the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, and a European and US delegation in Aden, coincided with the PLC presenting a Yemeni state model with a core desire of moving the country from a state of war to a state of peace.

Observers can easily note that speeches by the PLC and its head are neither inflammatory nor polarizing, “on the grounds that al-Alimi is the president of all Yemenis, including [the Iran-backed] Houthi militias.”

“The PLC was able to maintain its harmony and work in a team spirit, proceeding based on the principles of partnership to resolve the issues it faces,” a Yemeni source close to decision makers told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source pointed out that the PLC has broken new ground in maintaining and revamping security institutions.

“The council has made significant progress in forming military and security committees, and preparing professional visions related to rebuilding these two national institutions in accordance with the approved standards,” noted the source.

“This includes dedicating attention to agencies fighting terrorism and organized crime,” they added.

While the PLC works on ensuring the payment of salaries to public workers in areas controlled by the legitimate government, the ruling body is also working on methods for compensating civil servants in Houthi-run areas.

The PLC, in cooperation with the government, is also spearheading a campaign to improve services in the war-torn nation. Furthermore, the council is working on controlling the prices of commodities, bringing more aid into the country, and curbing the national currency’s devaluation.

In terms of energy relief, aid from Saudi Arabia has begun to gradually flow into Yemen.

Saudi emergency funding has been approved to purchase fuel for power plants and to complete the procedures for establishing a gas station for electricity generation.

At a cost of more than $150 million, medium voltage networks and low voltage electrical distribution in Aden governorate will also be funded by the Kingdom.

During a June 30 meeting with al-Alimi and members of the PLC, Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman announced that the Kingdom, through the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, will be providing the Yemeni government with support through development projects in 17 sectors worth $400 million.

The Yemeni government has completed procedures to establish a fund for oil derivatives worth $900 million: $600 million from Saudi Arabia and $300 million from the UAE.

Yemeni analyst Adam Baron noted that the PLC has turned a new page in the political history of Yemen.

“After 100 days, we find that everyday factors, such as security issues, the provision of basic services and the economy, will assess the PLC’s future performance,” Baron told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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