Saturday, July 20, 2024

New round of talks between Yemen govt, Houthis begin in Jordan

A fresh round of negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthi militia kicked of the Jordanian capital of Amman under the patronage of the UN.

In the two-day talks which will conclude on Saturday, the delegations from the two rival sides will discuss the issue of exchanging prisoners and seek solutions to the obstacles to the implementation of a previous agreement in this regard, an informed source told Xinhua news agency.

The source said both the two discussed the visit to each other’s prisoners after the planned visit in May was postponed.

He described the atmosphere of the meeting as positive but did not provide any further details.

Majid Fadail, the spokesperson for the government negotiating delegation, expressed optimism for the success of the talks in a tweet, emphasising the objective of securing “the release of all prisoners and abductees” on the basis of reciprocity.

Last month however, the Yemen government had rejected participation in future prisoner exchange negotiations with Houthis, citing the Iran-backed militia group’s refusal to disclose the location of prominent politician Mohammed Qahtan and their denial of visitation rights to his family.

Qahtan of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party, was abducted by the Houthis eight years ago in the capital Sanaa.

The Houthis have remained unresponsive to repeated appeals from the UN, local and international human rights groups, as well as the politician’s family for access to Qahtan, according to the government.

UN-sponsored negotiations between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels in March successfully led to the release of nearly 900 prisoners in April, marking the second largest prisoner exchange between the warring sides since a civil war broke out more than eight years ago.

High-profile figures, including Nasser Mansour Hadi, the brother of former President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and Mahmoud Al Subeihi, the country’s former Defence Minister, were among those who were freed.

Yemen has been embroiled in the devastating civil war since 2014, with the Houthi rebels fighting against the internationally-recognised government and a Saudi Arabia-led coalition allied with the latter.



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