Yemen warring parties travel to Switzerland to discuss prisoner releases

Injured Yemenis loyal to the Houthis take part in a rally against the Saudi-UAE-led coalition in Sanaa on September 14 Keystone

Delegations from Yemen’s warring parties have met in Geneva to begin talks on a United Nations-backed agreement on prisoner releases.

This content was published on September 19, 2020 - 18:39

Delegates from the internationally recognised Yemeni government sat down on Friday with Houthi rebels for talks chaired by the Red Cross, said the UN envoy to Yemen.

Martin Griffiths urged both parties to “release detainees swiftly” and “bring relief to thousands of Yemeni families”.

The aim of the talks is to build on the occasional releases of dozens of prisoners over the past two years and implement the war’s “first official large-scale exchange”.

The two sides committed earlier this year to swap over 1,400 detainees.

It was announced earlier this week that the delegations, which had been meeting in Jordan, would fly to Switzerland for “week-long” talks. On Friday however, the office of the UN envoy said it was unclear how long the discussions would take.

The Iran-allied Houthis and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government are trying to reach an agreement to end a war that started in 2014. Over 112,000 have been killed, and the conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis in what is the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country.

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