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Jordan to host Yemen prisoner-swap negotiations

By JT - Jan 15,2019 - Last updated at Jan 15,2019

AMMAN — Jordan has accepted a request to host a meeting between Yemen's warring parties for talks on a prisoner-swap deal, agreed during peace negotiations in Sweden last month, a Foreign Ministry statement said on Tuesday.

Representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthis will convene in Amman to discuss the terms of the deal, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Sufian Qudah was quoted as saying in the statement, stopping short of disclosing the set date for the meeting.

Jordan last week received a request from UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to host a “specific meeting” between Yemen's warring parties, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the press in remarks following discussions with his Yemeni counterpart Khalid Yamani.

Qudah added that “Jordan fully supports all efforts seeking a political solution to the Yemeni conflict within the relevant international framework”.

Safadi told the press last week that the Kingdom would “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”.

UN-brokered peace talks in Sweden last month led to a ceasefire agreement, which Safadi described as “a significant step that, if implemented, can move the peace process forward towards a resolution to the crisis”.

He added that Jordan supports the legitimate government in Yemen and the coalition to restore its legitimacy in coordination with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Yemeni people, to the end of alleviating the suffering and ending the humanitarian crisis, according to the statement. 

The deal to free prisoners simultaneously was part of confidence-building measures that included a plan to withdraw from the contested port city of Hodeida, a lifeline for millions facing famine, and place it under the control of an interim entity, the Reuters news agency reported.

The agreement would allow thousands of families to be reunited, according to Reuters,

The two sides exchanged lists of some 15,000 prisoners for a swap agreed to at the start of the Sweden talks, and delegates said it would be conducted via the Houthi-held Sanaa airport in north Yemen and the government-held Sayun airport in the south.

The process would be overseen by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).The operation will require a Saudi-led military coalition to guarantee that air space is secure for flights, the ICRC said.

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