Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 November 2019

Jordan says it will host Yemen talks on prisoner exchange deal

The Meeting will focus on the release of thousands of detainees

Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi (R) shakes hand with Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani, at the Foreign Ministry, in Amman, Jordan, 10 January 2019. EPA
Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi (R) shakes hand with Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani, at the Foreign Ministry, in Amman, Jordan, 10 January 2019. EPA

Jordan said on Tuesday it will host talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels over a prisoner exchange deal brokered during the UN-led peace talks in Sweden in December.

The meeting will be attended by a committee comprising of both rebels and government delegates, who have been tasked with implementing the agreement.

“By the request of the office of UN Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, the kingdom of Jordan has agreed to host the meeting between the two sides,” said a statement by Jordan's foreign ministry. The time and place for the meeting was not mentioned.

"Jordan stands alongside its brothers in Yemen in efforts to end the crisis,” the statement said.

The UN envoy's office on Wednesday the Jordanian government for its approval to host the meeting.

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Yemen’s warring parties last month exchanged lists of 15,000 prisoners they want released from detention. The operation is expected to be implemented by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The prisoners will be flown out of two airports, Seyoun in central Yemen and rebel-held Sanaa.

“The ICRC will act as a neutral intermediary between the parties and provide technical and, if needed, logistical support to facilitate the transfer and release [of captives],” the organisation’s spokeswoman Jessica El Zarif told The National.

The warring parties in Sweden also agreed on a ceasefire in the city of Hodeidah.

The implementation of the deal has floundered, however, despite the deployment of UN observers to the area.

The Yemeni government, the Arab-led coalition and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have all said that Houthi rebels are failing to abide by the terms of the ceasefire.

Officials have said Houthi violations suggest that rebels are not willing to commit to efforts to advance the country’s peace process.

Updated: January 16, 2019 03:01 PM

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