Yemeni official warns of "imminent" economic collapse

10:39, May 13, 2011      

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Yemen is on the brink of an "imminent" economic collapse due to recurrent bomb attacks on oil pipelines and ongoing social unrest, a government official warned.

"Acts of sabotage on the oil pipeline in Wadi Ubaida in Marib province have hampered the flow of oil since mid-March and undermined the confidence of foreign investors in the country," Minister of Oil and Minerals Amir Salim Al-Aydarus was quoted by the official Saba news agency as saying Thursday.

"Several foreign oil companies have quit the country and the refineries in the southern province of Aden came to a standstill a week ago," Aydarus said in a briefing with parliament members.

The warning prompoted the lawmakers to call an urgent meeting with the cabinet to discuss the energy crisis.

The Yemeni official also blamed the prolonged political deadlock between the ruling party and the opposition for the economic woes, as the ongoing political crisis pushed departure of foreign oil workers.

Morevoer, he said, months-long street protests deteriorated the security situations and negatively affected the distribution of oil products and also added to difficulties to repair the damaged pipeline.

"The sabotage and destruction by outlaws on oil and gas pipelines as well as electricity lines exacerbated the economic situation," Aydarous said. "If the problem persists, the government will be unable to meet the minimum needs of the citizens. The situation will pose a catastrophe beyond imagination."

Saba said Yemen's oil production has been halved in recent weeks after producers pulled out their staff and halted output, which led to the closure of the country's sole refinery in Aden.

Source: Xinhua
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