UN-Sponsored Yemeni Prisoner Exchange Talks Begin In Oman

(MENAFN- IANS) Aden (Yemen), June 30 (IANS) A fresh round of negotiations between the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives began Sunday in Muscat, focusing on the exchange of prisoners and detainees.

The talks, held under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), aim to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis surrounding prisoners in the conflict-ridden nation, reports Xinhua news agency.

Majid Fadail, spokesperson for the government delegation, confirmed to Xinhua that the initial session took place during the past hours. The meeting was attended by Sarhad Fattah, deputy special envoy of the UN secretary-general to Yemen, along with representatives from the ICRC and the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

According to Fadail, the primary objective of these negotiations is to secure the release of all prisoners and detainees without discrimination, based on an "all-for-all" principle. He emphasised "the government delegation's commitment to addressing this humanitarian issue responsibly."

A key point of discussion is the fate of Mohamed Qahtan, a prominent Yemeni politician held by the Houthis nine years ago in Sanaa. The government delegation stressed that "progress in the negotiations is contingent on revealing Qahtan's status and securing his release," according to Fadail.

On the other side, Abdul Qader Murtada, head of the Houthi negotiating team, expressed optimism on social media platform X, stating, "We hope it will be a successful round that a new exchange deal will be agreed upon, and the humanitarian file will be resolved."

The current 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 over 800 prisoners and detainees from both warring Yemeni sides.



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