SANAA: Yemen has launched a $1.2bn fund to give back tens of thousands of southern Yemenis jobs they lost after the 1994 civil war, a minister said yesterday, part of efforts to revive talks aimed at ending long-standing political divisions.
International Cooperation Minister Mohammed Al Sa’adi said the fund, agreed on Sunday, had persuaded southern separatists to return to talks they boycotted last month in protest against the government’s handling of their demands.
Sa’adi said Qatar would contribute $350m to the fund, which will be used to rehire or compensate tens of thousands of civil servants and soldiers sacked after North Yemen won the civil war.
A source at Qatar’s foreign ministry declined to confirm if Qatar had pledged the $350m.
Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the United Nations envoy to the country, Jamal Benomar, had approached Qatar for financial support in recent months.
Yemen is expected to ask international donors to cover the remaining $850m at a meeting in New York on September 25.
A Western diplomat said earlier that the Southern Herak separatists had agreed to return to talks after assurances made through Benomar that their demands would be met.
These demands included setting up a 16-member committee, eight from the north and eight from the south, to discuss the future of southern Yemen.
The committee held its first session yesterday, one day after national reconciliation talks resumed following a suspension of more than four weeks.