Jan 24, 2021 17:43 UTC
  • Yemen warring sides kick-start prisoner swap talks in Jordan: UN

Fresh talks between delegations from Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and Saudi-backed former government have begun over exchange of hundreds of more prisoners, as part of steps taken to revive stalled UN-brokered peace negotiations, the United Nations says.

According to Press TV, Ismini Palla, spokeswoman of the office of UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said on Sunday that he had opened talks between Ansarullah officials and representatives from administration of Saudi-allied fugitive president, Mansur Hadi, in Jordan.

"The meetings started on Sunday morning," she added.

A UN-chartered plane carried four officials of Ansarullah officials from Sana'a to the Jordanian capital Amman on Saturday. The Saudi-backed administration also sent four representatives.

Sources familiar with the matter said that the latest talks aim to free 300 prisoners, including high-ranking figures like the brother of Mansour Hadi.

The talks in Jordan are part of confidence-building measures aimed at restarting peace negotiations last held in Sweden in December 2018, when the two parties agreed to exchange 15,000 detainees split between the popular Houthi movement and the Saudi-led coalition.

Griffiths, in a statement on Sunday, urged the warring sides to discuss and agree on names "beyond the Amman meeting lists to fulfill their Stockholm commitment of releasing all conflict-related detainees as soon as possible".

Saudi Arabia and some of its allies began a campaign of military aggression on Yemen in March 2015 to bring its former pro-Riyadh regime back to power.

The aggression that will enter its seventh straight year in two months has also been accompanied with an all-out siege of the Arab world’s already poorest nation.

The combined atrocities have martyred tens of thousands of Yemenis, displaced millions of others, and turned Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.