Houthis reject relocation of Yemen's central bank to Aden

Houthis reject relocation of Yemen's central bank to Aden
2 min read
21 September, 2016
The Hadi government has accused the Iran-allied Houthis of squandering some $4 billion on the war effort from central bank reserves in the 18 month conflict.
Houthis claim the bank's move to Aden has been dictated by Saudi Arabia [Getty]
A spokesman for the Houthi rebels in Yemen has slammed the decision of the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to relocate the country’s central bank from the capital Sanaa to the port city of Aden located approximately 300km away.

Mohamed Abdel Salam dismissed the move as both illegitimate and foolish, whilst also criticising the dismissal of the bank’s former head Mohamad Awad Bin Haman. Bin Hamman has been replaced by former Finance Minister Monasser Al Quaiti.

Abdul Salam said, in comments published by Reuters, that the relocation of the central bank showed the subservience of the Hadi government to the demands of their Saudi Arabian backers illustrating the desperation and lack of direction that the Saudi regime and its supporters in Riyadh had reached."

Abdel Malek al-Houthi, the leader of the Houthi faction has also stated, on the Hizballah affiliated al-Manar television network, that the move had been directed by the United States.

Quati, the bank’s new manager has accused the Houthi movement that holds sway in Sanaa, of pillaging the institution to finance its war against the exiled government based in Aden. In particular Quati alleges that salaries paid by the central bank to pro-Houthi officials and soldiers have seen Yemeni foreign exchange reserves plummet from $5.2 billion in September 2014 to less than $700 million by the end of August.

A statement attributed to the governing council of Houthis and supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has since called on Yemenis to reject the move of the central bank to Aden saying: "This act from a legal perspective is null and void. We call on the international community, especially the international monetary and financial institutions, to stand by their decision to reject that move."

Although the Hadi government last month asked international financial institutions to prevent central bank officials from accessing state funds held in overseas banks, diplomats largely agree the central bank has maintained its neutrality during the 18-month civil war.

Agencies contributed to this report