Riyadh: Saudi Troops still on Yemeni land despite Border Accord
Saudi troops are still posted inside Yemeni territory despite a June 12 border accord, Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz admitted Wednesday.
"We will withdraw the Saudi troops at the opportune time," Prince Sultan told reporters at the end of a meeting of the two countries' top coordination panel, its first for more than a decade.
"The presence of the Saudi troops cannot prevent investment in Yemen," he said.
"We have started to work hand in hand, and we will continue to work this way ... thanks to the border accord signed by the two brotherly countries," said the Saudi defense minister.
He said the two-day coordination council meeting in the Saudi city of Medina was "a first step towards a fruitful cooperation" between the two largest countries of the Arabian peninsula.
The council was to issue a final statement later Wednesday.
Before the border accord was signed, Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Karim al-Iriyani complained of Saudi "intransigence" along two sectors of the frontier: Ras al-Maawaj on the Red Sea and Jabal al-Thar, both inside Yemeni territory.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen have since selected a German company to place markers along the 1,350-kilometer (850-mile) border.
Iriyani, who co-chaired the Medina talks with Prince Sultan, agreed on the prospects for closer ties, saying the border deal had "brought an end to any form of hesitation on cooperation".
The council will in future meet every six months, rather than once a year, said the prime minister, who is seeking a revival in Saudi economic aid and investment for his cash-strapped country.
Yemen, whose ties with Saudi Arabia have been on the mend over the past five years, paid a heavy price for its political support of Baghdad during the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis sparked by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
The coordination council last met in 1987.
Between 1971 and 1987, Yemen, one of the world's poorest countries, received a total of three billion dollars from Saudi Arabia, half of it going to the annual state budget.
The Saudi market employed 1.2 million Yemenis, but 800,000 of them were expelled during the Gulf crisis. Remittances from Yemeni workers in the Gulf fell to 227 million dollars from 1.5 billion dollars in 1990, official Yemeni figures show -- RIYADH (AFP)
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