Monday, May 20, 2024

Yemen’s warring parties conclude prisoner swap talks with ‘positive’ results

The Yemeni government and the Houthi militia concluded the three-day UN-sponsored talks in Jordan on the prisoner swap issue with “positive” outcomes.

Majed Fadayel, spokesman for the Yemeni government delegation, told Xinhua news agency that the talks focused on securing the release of thousands of prisoners and detainees held by both sides and concluded successfully.

Fadayel revealed that the Houthis have agreed to release Mohamed Qahtan, a politican who has been held since 2015, in the upcoming prisoner exchange.

Other proposals were offered by both sides during the talks and will be submitted to their leaderships for approval before another round of talks expected in early July, according to Fadayel.

Meanwhile, the UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg welcomed the “positive conclusion” of the talks in Jordan’s capital Amman.

“The two parties agreed to continue consultations on the proposals and ideas discussed and to consult with their leadership, in order to agree on a detailed proposal that includes priorities identified by the parties for this round and a mechanism for implementation,” he said.

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

The Iran-backed militia group 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.

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