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Saudi Arabia and Yemen have outlined a number of cooperation agreements in science and technology.

The agreements were signed this month (13 November) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during a meeting of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, co-chaired by the prime minister of Saudi Arabia, Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz, and Yemeni prime minister Ali Muhammad Mujawwar.

They include the creation of educational, technical and vocational projects in Yemen as well as promoting cooperation between the two countries in earth sciences, higher education, agriculture, energy, fisheries and conservation of biodiversity.

Saudi Arabia will provide US$50 million to equip industrial technical institutes in the Yemeni cities of Aden, Taiz and Hajah, the Aden-based national institute for technicians and trainers, and vocational centers in Sana`a, Aden, Mareb and Hadramout state.

Additionally, a grant of US$32 million will help establish a university hospital and cancer centre at Hadramout University for Science and Technology in Mukalla, and US$18 million will be provided for the rehabilitation of Aden Hospital and the building of a heart treatment and research centre.

Saudi Arabia will further loan US$12 million to set up a College of Medicine and Health Sciences in Taiz. It also plans to increase the number of scholarships for Yemeni students at Saudi universities from 100 to 150 and set up training programmes for Yemeni technicians.

A scientific technician programme in earth sciences is planned for the exchange of information on exploring mineral resources. The two countries will also cooperate in monitoring and early warning systems for seismic and volcanic activity and other natural disasters.

And Saudi Arabia will provide equipment to research, survey and fight the spread of desert locusts.

"This well-prepared agreement with well-planned and financially-supported scientific programmes will definitely benefit Yemen in building its technological capacity, as well as developing its scientific workforce and promoting a knowledge-based economy," said Saeed Abdullah Ba-Angood, an adviser at Yemen-based Science and Technology Centre of University of Aden.

He added that the plan is already underway, with a group of students from Yemeni universities due to visit Saudi Arabian universities next month.