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‘Terms of Yemen prisoner exchange to be thrashed out in coming days’

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)
Delegates from Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi meet in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 17, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Delegates from Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and representatives loyal to former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi are expected to agree on the terms of a prisoner exchange within the next 10 days.

“We expect that in 10 days time the final signing will have happened,” the head of the pro-Hadi delegation to the prisoner exchange talks, Hadi Haig, told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday.

Last week, officials from the former Yemeni government and Ansarullah movement held a round of UN-brokered negotiations in the Jordanian capital city of Amman to hammer out a prisoner swap deal. The two sides met separately with the mediators and submitted lists of prisoners they wanted to be released.

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

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 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.

Civilians inspect the damage at a factory after a Saudi airstrike in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on January 20, 2019. (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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