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UN announces prisoner swap agreement as Yemen peace talks begin

IANS  |  Stockholm 

UN to on Thursday said the warring parties in the Arab country had reached an agreement on the exchange of prisoners.

Griffiths' announcement came at the beginning of the Yemeni peace negotiations outside of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, in a renewed attempt by the UN to end nearly four years of civil war that has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

Representatives of the internationally-recognized Yemeni government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, flew to on Wednesday while UN accompanied the Iranian-backed to

"I am also pleased to announce the signing of an agreement on the exchange of prisoners, detainees, the missing, the forcibly detained and individuals placed under house arrest," Griffiths said at a press conference.

"It will allow thousands of families to be reunited and it is product of very effective, active work from both delegations."

Griffiths hoped the peace talks would result in the resumption of the political process in

The peace negotiations in the small Swedish town of -- located 60 km to the north of -- were the first to be carried out in over two years.

The -- rebels belonging to an armed movement that adheres to the Zaidi current of Islam who launched an insurgency against the in 2011 -- did not attend the last round of talks, convened by the UN in September in

During that time the rebels reportedly said they were unable or unwilling to travel by air due to concerns that the Saudi-led military coalition would interfere with their flight.

Thursday's peace talks occurred during a time of fighting between government-supporting coalition forces to take the Houthi-held port city of Hodeida, the main point of entry for and medicine for Yemen's population.

tweeted earlier that the talks were "a true opportunity for peace".

The of the Houthi delegation, Mohammed Abdelsalam, vowed to "spare no effort to make a success of the talks" but also warned rebel fighters to remain "vigilant against any attempt at a military escalation".

The Arab country has been locked in a political and military crisis since popular regional uprisings began in 2011, with the taking control of Yemen's capital in September 2014, a move that spurred to go to war against the Houthis in 2015 with the support of the and other key Saudi allies.



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First Published: Thu, December 06 2018. 20:24 IST