Saudi Arabia donates fuel worth $422 million to ease Yemen crisis

Vital infrastructure including hospitals and schools lack electricity because of fuel shortages

Yemenis shop at a street market in the Crater district of Yemen's southern coastal city of Aden on May 17, 2020, amid fears that coronavirus is spreading unhindered in the Yemeni city. - Deaths in Aden have surged to five or even seven times higher than normal, an NGO and medics say. Six years of war against the Huthis -- and a widening fault-line among forces opposed to that rebel outfit -- have left authorities ill-equipped to control the spread of the virus. (Photo by Nabil HASAN / AFP)
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Saudi Arabia will grant petroleum products worth $422 million to Yemen's internationally recognised government for power stations and to support public services as the country grapples with a fuel shortage.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman informed Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi of the grant under the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Programme in a telephone call, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 after a major military offensive by the Iran-aligned Houthis who ousted Mr Hadi's government from the capital Sanaa and now hold most of northern Yemen. The government is based in the south.

Fuel shortages knocked out water pumps, generators in hospitals and disrupted aid supplies in Yemen, where 80 per cent of the population need help.

Last week Mr Hadi's government said it had approved the entry of some fuel ships to Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodeidah, which is controlled by Houthi militias.

The move came after the group, which controls most large urban centres, said it would agree to a Saudi Arabian ceasefire only if certain conditions were first met.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Ali Al Houthi said he would accept an honourable peace with Saudi Arabia with the caveat of ending the so-called blockade and coalition military operations in Yemen.