Yemen warring sides agree at start of talks to free thousands of prisoners

Yemen warring sides agree at start of talks to free thousands of prisoners

Yemen’s warring sides agreed to free thousands of prisoners on Wednesday, in what a U.N. mediator called a hopeful start to the first peace talks in years to end a war that has pushed millions of people on the verge of starvation, Trend reports referring to Reuters.

U.N. mediator Martin Griffiths told a news conference in a renovated castle outside Stockholm that just getting the warring sides to the table was an important milestone.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s direst humanitarian crisis, since a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in 2015 to restore a government ousted by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

No talks have been held since 2016, and the last attempt in Geneva in September failed when the Houthis did not attend.

Griffiths said the prisoner swap agreed at the start of the talks would reunite thousands of families. The International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 5,000 would be freed.

The war, widely seen across the region as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been stalemated for years, threatening supply lines to feed nearly 30 million inhabitants.

The Houthis control the capital Sanaa and most populated areas, while the ousted government based in the southern city of Aden has struggled to advance despite the aid of Arab states.

Humanitarian suffering in one of the world’s poorest countries has added to pressure on the parties to end the conflict, with faith in the Saudi-led war effort flagging among Western allies that arm and support the coalition.

Outrage over the Oct. 2 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate has also undermined Western support for Riyadh’s regional activities.

Diplomats are expected to shuttle between the warring parties to discuss other confidence-building steps and the formation of a transitional governing body, a U.N. source said.

Griffiths wants a deal on reopening Sanaa airport, shoring up the central bank and securing a truce in Hodeidah, the country’s main port, held by the Houthis and a focus of the war after the coalition launched a campaign to capture it this year.

This could lead to a wider ceasefire to halt coalition air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians, and Houthi missile attacks on Saudi cities.

A U.N. source said that the two sides were still far from agreement on the three issues, especially on who should manage Hodeidah port and whether the Houthis should entirely quit the city. “Hodeidah is very complex,” the source said.

The United Nations is trying to avert a full-scale assault on Hodeidah, the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial goods and aid. Both sides have reinforced positions in the Red Sea city in sporadic battles after a de-escalation last month.

The other main route in and out of Houthi territory is the Sanaa airport, but access is restricted by the Saudi-led coalition which controls the air space.

The head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said in a Twitter post that if no deal is reached to re-open the airport, the movement could close it on the ground to all traffic including U.N. flights.

As winter approaches, Egypt braces for second coronavirus wave
As winter approaches, Egypt braces for second coronavirus wave
Iran, Qatar sign MoU to cooperate on economy
Iran, Qatar sign MoU to cooperate on economy
Uzbekistan eyes to increase share of renewable energy sources by 2030
Uzbekistan eyes to increase share of renewable energy sources by 2030
Loading Bars
Latest
Kalbajar returned to its true owners - Turkish government
Assembly of new-generation combines starts in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani currency rates for Nov. 25
Iranian currency rates for November 25
US welcomes observance of agreements on settlement in Karabakh - Pentagon
Kalbajar district's return to Azerbaijan - new triumph of historical justice, says expert
As winter approaches, Egypt braces for second coronavirus wave
Turkmenistan, Malaysia aim to boost co-op in oil and gas sector
Uzbekistan reveals its COVID-19 data for November 25
President Ilham Aliyev allocates AZN 5m for design and construction of Barda-Aghdam railway line
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 25
Fitch withdraws ratings of Yerevan due to incorrect information
Iran to expand economic relations with Qatar
Iran announces readiness to increase percentage of enrichment
Davit Zalkaliani congratulates Gerry Connolly on election as President of NATO PA
First video footage from liberated Kalbajar region (PHOTO/VIDEO)
720 new coronavirus cases in Kazakhstan over last 24 hrs
Energy, transport sectors – main area of Romanian interest in Turkmenistan
1 dead, 2 missing after workshop collapse in SW China city
Import of Turkish clothes by Uzbekistan drops sharply
75 more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day — crisis center
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 463,000 in past day — WHO
Israel reports 798 new COVID-19 cases, 330,796 in total
Units of the Azerbaijan Army enter Kalbajar region
Pennsylvania certifies election results for Biden
Iran, Qatar sign MoU to cooperate on economy
Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan being liberated from Armenian occupation today
China, Japan eye closer cooperation amid COVID-19 pandemic
Construction of the TAPI gas pipeline in Afghanistan territory will continue next year
ICESCO SecGen sends letter to President Aliyev
Azerbaijani, Russian presidents hold phone talks
Urban transformation back on track for ‘abandoned’ Istanbul neighborhood
“Scorched earth” strategy of Armenians leaving Azerbaijani Kalbajar region did not escape EC attention - report
President Rouhani: Iran to be able to mass produce coronavirus vaccine soon
Turkmenistan is convinced of the need to attract political-diplomatic tools to achieve peace and prosperity in Afghanistan
Georgian banks see increase in interest income
Azerbaijan’s revenues from export of hazelnuts down
Azerbaijan’s import of plastics and plastic products drops
Turkmenistan will continue to cooperate with Afghanistan on security issues
Nursing homes will be first to get COVID-19 vaccine in Spain
Troops from Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan who took part in Karabakh conflict, return home (PHOTO)
Speaker of Azerbaijani parliament takes part in int’l conference initiated by Turkish parliament, PACE (PHOTO)
Any result that acceptable for Azerbaijan - acceptable for Turkey too, FM says
Volume of paid services in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic down
Azerbaijan shows aerial footage of Shusha city (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan eyeing to develop information system for accounting of oil and gas condensate
Anglo Asian Mining's production of precious metals in Azerbaijan may decrease
Uzbekistan eyes to increase share of renewable energy sources by 2030
Airbus CEO says industry might need until 2025 to reach pre-crisis levels
Parliament's plan to increase subsides - costly for Iranian government
Ukrainian companies enter Uzbek commodity exchange
National Bank of Georgia reveals data on losses of commercial banks
Import of sugar and confectionery by Azerbaijan down
Demand for Turkish electrical goods on Kazakh market grows in 10M2020
Azerbaijan confirms 1,259 more COVID-19 recoveries
Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling in Iran
Azerbaijan discloses data on destroyed houses in liberated Fuzuli district
Baku Media Center prepares video covering Armenian vandalism on occupied territories of Azerbaijan (VIDEO)
Russian president hopes for participation of int’l organizations in Karabakh conflict settlement
Power abuse by major states prevents resolving conflicts - Russian FM
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy electrical products via tender
Turkmenistan offers business opportunities for Switzerland in number of fields
North-South Corridor - on Iran's agenda - Minister of Roads and Urban Development of Iran
Turkish, Russian military personnel to jointly patrol in Nagorno-Karabakh - Turkish MoD
Azerbaijan shows footage from Abdal, Gulabli villages of Aghdam district (VIDEO)
Egyptian air operator enters Uzbek market
Uzbekistan to introduce changes to electricity payments in 2021
Iran assigns more funds to complete unfinished projects
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender for purchase of equipment
Azerbaijan’s startup sector expects big investments
Iran's ten-month import of steel from Turkey drops
Tesla set to breach $500 billion in market value
State budget for 2021-2023 approved in Kazakhstan following amendments introduction
Kazakhstan's bitumen output exceeds 2020 plan as maintenance works held country-wide
Port of Baku reveals total 10M2020 cargo shipments
New railway vehicles put into operation in Iran
Iran`s Zarif to visit Moscow and Baku despite postponement
Kazakhstan looking to double renewables share in electricity production
Iran continues to cut reliance on oil revenue
Volume of container transshipment between Kazakh, Azerbaijani ports almost triples
LUKOIL refusing plans to construct giant petrochemical complexes
Iran, Qatar sign an extensive Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation
Switzerland names main trade statistics with Turkmenistan
Dry cargo transshipments through Baku port grow in 10M2020
LUKOIL says reducing oil exports to Europe is inevitable
Georgia receives new buses of modern standards
Georgian hazelnuts exports up
Georgia sees increase in export of tangerines
Ryanair wants to be 'at front of queue' for new 737 MAX order
Azercell’s Mobile Eye Clinic joins campaign for IDPs initiated by the UN (PHOTO)
El Al to launch Tel Aviv - Dubai flights next month
Kazakhstan’s third-quarter economic performance benefits from recovery of oil prices
Azerbaijan informs UNESCO, ISESCO about results of initial monitorings on liberated areas
Turkmenistan’s private sector participates in dev't of poultry farming
Iran discloses plan on creation of new jobs in Yazd Province
Destroyed Armenian positions firing at Azerbaijani army during recent hostilities shown (PHOTOS)
Central Bank of Azerbaijan discloses data from foreign exchange auction
CBI announces Iran's external debt
Azerbaijan starts to grow bananas - Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture
Azerbaijani servicemen help Armenians to move belongings from villages of Aghdam district (VIDEO)
All news