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Yemen: Progress in Talks on Detainees

Yemen: Progress in Talks on Detainees

Monday, 10 December, 2018 - 07:15
Police guard Johannesburg Castle in Rimbo about 50 kilometers north of Stockholm. EPA
Rimbo (Sweden) - Badr Al-Qahtani
The fourth day of Yemeni talks held in the Johannesburg Castle in Rimbo, north of Stockholm, on Sunday were described as positive after the government delegation and the Houthi militias held their first technical meeting to tackle the swap of prisoners and detainees.

Last week, the government announced reaching, in principal, the UN-sponsored swap deal with the insurgents to release more than 3,500 detainees and prisoners.

The deal includes releasing four high-ranking Yemeni officials loyal to the legitimate government. They are former Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi, military leader Faisal Rajab, President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s brother Nasser and prominent figure from the Yemeni Congregation for reform, known as Al Islah Party, Mohammed Qahtan.

Sunday’s meeting in Sweden discussed the locations of the prisoner exchange that should take place in the presence of a Red Cross delegation and the team of UN Special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths.

A high-ranking Yemeni source expected in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat for discussions on the issue of detainees to lead to a breakthrough in talks on Taiz and Yemen’s airports.

The source said that such discussions could pave way for another round of consultations that would end up with an agreement on a comprehensive solution for Yemen.

However, the source ruled out such a deal during the current round of consultations in Rimbo.

Other sources said that Griffiths handed over to the legitimate government delegation two documents – one on lifting the siege on Taiz and the second on the port city of Hodeidah.

The sources said the government should study the two documents and write down its remarks before returning them to Griffiths.

“Our team’s general orientation is to positively deal with all proposals made by Griffiths, on condition that they respect the sovereignty of the state and UN Security Council resolutions, including the three references,” a government delegation source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Sweden consultations are the first since 2016. A previous round of peace talks in September collapsed when the Houthis failed to appear.

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