UN-sponsored prisoner exchange negotiations between Yemeni factions scheduled in Muscat

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UN-sponsored prisoner exchange negotiations between Yemeni factions scheduled in Muscat

Aden (Yemen): The UN is set to facilitate a new round of negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthi group representatives concerning prisoner and detainee exchanges, a government official told the media.

The local government official, who asked to remain anonymous, said on Friday that the talks are scheduled to commence on Sunday in Muscat, Oman, to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis surrounding prisoners in the conflict-ridden nation.

He clarified that the negotiations will proceed under the auspices of the UN and with oversight from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) convened an extraordinary meeting to discuss the preparations for the forthcoming prisoner exchange negotiations.

In an official statement released through the state-run Saba News Agency, the PLC reaffirmed its dedication to resolving the humanitarian crisis surrounding detainees, abductees, and forcibly disappeared individuals.

The PLC advocated for a comprehensive “all-for-all” exchange principle, with particular emphasis on securing the release of prominent politician Mohamed Qahtan, whose case is specifically addressed in a UN Security Council resolution.

During the meeting, the PLC also addressed the recent surge in abductions of UN agency employees and NGO workers by Houthis in Sanaa, condemning these actions as violations of national and international laws and calling for intensified pressure on the Houthis to unconditionally release all captives.

This upcoming negotiation round follows a series of UN-sponsored talks between the Yemeni government and Houthis over the years. The most recent discussions, held in Amman in June 2023, ended without an agreement.

However, a previous round in Switzerland in March 2023 led to a successful exchange in April 2023, resulting in the release of more than 800 prisoners and detainees from both warring Yemeni sides.

As Yemen continues to grapple with a protracted conflict that began in late 2014, these negotiations represent a crucial step towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis and potentially paving the way for broader peace talks.

 


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