SANAA  - Yemen will ask donors for about $10 billion in urgent aid at a “Friends of Yemen” meeting to be held in the Saudi capital later this month, the country’s planning minister said on Wednesday. “We are talking about $10 billion that we will need for economic recovery, to stabilise the economy and the currency,” Said al-Saadi told AFP on the sidelines of a donors conference in Sanaa. “This is just an estimate at this point,” he said adding that “these figures will be discussed” even though the meeting of foreign ministers from the Gulf countries, and representatives of the EU and the UN in Riyadh on May 23 will focus on transition.

The interim transitional government is in the process of finalising an emergency plan to relaunch its shattered economy, still reeling from a year-long uprising that forced veteran leader Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power.

According to the minister, the plan sets out the most “urgent priorities,” including a spiralling food crisis that the United Nations estimates has affected some 10 million Yemenis.

The plan will also focus on rebuilding infrastructure, specifically electricity, water and oil products, and ensure that severely debilitated health and social services are restored, he added.

But Western diplomats at Wednesday’s meeting said they were unlikely to make any financial commitments until a formal donor conference, known as the Consultative Group Meeting, to be held in early July.