Yemen War Rivals Starts Talk on Prisoner Swap Deal in Jordan
U.N. officials and delegates stated that on Wednesday, Yemen’s conflicting sides have started discussions in Amman over how to enforce a prisoner exchange that would grant thousands of families to be reunited with their loved ones as part of U.N.-led peace attempts.
Delegates from the Iran-affiliated Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government met in the Jordanian capital to deliberate on the exchange, which was reached in U.N-led discourse in Sweden last December.
A U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric informed reporters that the two warring parties swapped the prisoners list in Sweden itself and are now considering steps to carry it out.
Western countries, some of which are furnishing arms and intelligence to a Saudi-led alliance supporting the government, have urged the two sides to decide confidence-building steps in order to make it possible for a bigger ceasefire and a political process to conclude the war, which has almost killed tens of thousands of people.
As part of that effort, the two sides swapped lists of some 15,000 prisoners for an exchange that delegates state would be carried out via the Houthi-held Sanaa airport in north Yemen and the government-held Sayun airport in the south.
The steps also include a plan to pull put from the disputed port city of Hodeidah, which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the verge of famine, and give it under the control of an interim organization.
Hadi Haig, who is heading the Yemen government delegation, stated that the two sides were checking the prisoner lists as a part of the five-stage process before the exchange can take place.
The exchange would be monitored by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The operation will demand the Saudi-led coalition to certify that air space would be secure for flights.