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Jordan agrees to host Yemen talks about prisoner exchange

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)

Jordan has announced that it will host a round of UN-brokered negotiations between delegates from Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to discuss a prisoner swap deal between the two warring sides.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on Tuesday that the kingdom had accepted a request from UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to host the talks.

The statement, however, did not say when the meeting would take place.

Jordan received a request from Griffiths last Thursday to host a “specific meeting” between officials from the former Yemeni government and Ansarullah movement.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi (R) meets with his pro-Hadi Yemeni counterpart Khaled al-Yamani in Amman on 10 January, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

“We will study the request in consistence with our clear stance on the issue of Yemen, which is to support all efforts leading to a resolution to the conflict in accordance with international legitimacy references and resulting in the relief of Yemenis’ suffering, and we will deliver our response to the request as soon as possible,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said at the time.

The development came on the same day that Jordanian King Abdullah II received pro-Hadi Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Yamani. 

Jordanian King Abdullah II (L) meets with pro-Hadi Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Yamani at al-Husseiniya Palace, Amman, Jordan, on January 10, 2019. (Photo by Petra news agency)

During the meeting at al-Husseiniya Palace, the monarch affirmed Jordan's support to Yemen and its efforts to achieve security and stability.

Ansarullah delegates and Hadi loyalists held a round of peace negotiations in Rimbo, north of the Swedish capital city of Stockholm, last month. The talks resulted in the announcement of a break-through agreement.

The document includes three provisions: a ceasefire along the Hudaydah front and the redeployment of armed forces out of the city and its port; an agreement on prisoner exchange; and a statement of understanding on the southern Yemeni city of Ta’izz.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

Yemeni mourners pray in a mosque by the bodies of victims of a Saudi airstrike in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah on December 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

 The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

A number of Western countries, the US and Britain in particular, are also accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and intelligence assistance.

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