Yemen future president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has called for urgent foreign aid to help revive the country’s shattered economy, and pledged to address the concerns of southern separatists and northern rebels.
In a televised speech broadcast late Sunday, the current vice president outlined his government’s two-year plan, focusing on the need to reunify the army, destroy Al-Qaeda, and carry-out “radical reforms.”
Hadi is the only candidate in a presidential ballot to be held Tuesday, a condition of the November 23 power-transfer agreement signed by outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh after intense international pressure and months of protests demanding his ouster.
Resolving the “economic problem is our top priority, but our current circumstances and the consequences of the recent (political) crisis has forced us to ask for help,” Hadi said in his address.
“This is why we are renewing our request for urgent aid and support from brotherly and friendly countries to allocate funds,” pledged by donors and friends of Yemen.
He further proposed the “establishment of an emergency fund to help the Yemeni government overcome the current economic crisis.”
It is estimated that the Arab world’s poorest nation will need billions of dollars in aid to recover from decades of poor governance and unresolved internal conflicts, further exacerbated by a year of mass protests and political turmoil that crippled the already weak economy.
The unrest has led to shortages in power, water, food and fuel, prompting international aid organisations to launch several urgent calls for assistance to stave off mass hunger, particularly among Yemen’s women and children.
“Yemen has passed through unprecedented gruelling months that the most optimistic observers predicted would transform Yemen into another Somalia,” said Hadi, adding that it was with the assistance and support of neighbouring Gulf states, the European Union, the United States, China and Russia that the crisis was resolved.
“But we would not have been able to reach this settlement if President Saleh had not put… the interest of the country,” ahead of his own, adding that his actions avoided “catastrophe.”
In reference to a decision by southern separatists and northern Shiite rebels to boycott Tuesday’s vote, the future president said “dialogue and only dialogue” can resolve these long-standing conflicts.
“The southern issue and its implications, and what happened, and what is still happening in Saada (the rebel stronghold in the north), must be given priority… and must be addressed with an open heart and without prejudice,” said Hadi.
Polling stations and electoral offices in the south have been repeatedly attacked in recent weeks.
On Saturday, a hardline faction of the Southern Movement called for a day of “civil disobedience” to disrupt Tuesday’s polling.