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Yemen factions reach deal on aid delivery

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This handout picture released by UN Photo shows a general view of the room at the opening of Yemen peace talks on December 15, 2015 in Magglingen, northern Switzerland. (AFP photo)

The warring sides in the ongoing conflict in Yemen have reached an agreement during UN-mediated talks on a full and immediate resumption of humanitarian assistance to conflict-stricken areas in the south of the impoverished country, Press TV reports.

A Thursday statement at the end of the third day of negotiations on Yemen in Magglingen, northern Switzerland, said the two sides agreed to allow humanitarian convoys to reach the affected areas in the city of Ta’izz. 

The talks are being held between members of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is being supported by Saudi Arabia through a deadly air campaign against the Houthis and Yemeni people. 

The deal will facilitate the delivery of a large UN convoy, carrying essential humanitarian supplies and destined for the most affected districts of Ta'izz.

United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, welcomed this agreement as “a major step forward that will ensure immediate action to alleviate the human suffering of the Yemeni people and to ensure the neutral and impartial character of humanitarian action.”

Ould congratulated the participants in the talks on this first important achievement and encouraged them to work towards further agreements to allow for rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to reach people in need across all Yemeni governorates.

The participants in the talks earlier agreed to exchange hundreds of prisoners taken during the conflict in the country. The swap included 375 Ansarullah fighters and 285 pro-Hadi militiamen, and took place along the boundary between Yemen’s southwestern province of Lahij and the central province of Bayda.

Released prisoners who are supporters of Houthi Ansarullah movement, attend a meeting with Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, President of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee, on December 17, 2015, in the capital Sana’a upon their release as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Houthis and Saudi-backed rebels. (AFP photo) 

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March. More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since March. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools and factories.

The Saudi attacks were supposed to stop under a ceasefire which went into effect hours before the talks in Switzerland began; however, the raids have continued after the truce with reports of several fatalities.

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