Yemen, Saudi-Led Coalition Sign UN-Prisoner-Swap-Accord With Houthis

Leroy Wright
December 8, 2018

One representative of the internationally-recognised government, Abdullah Al Alimi, Tweeted that the talks were "a true opportunity for peace", before the delegation flew out of the Saudi capital Riyadh.

"We have no illusions that this process will be easy, but we welcome this necessary and vital first step", said Heather Nauert, the State Department's spokeswoman.

A source familiar with the talks said that the United Nations was seeking to introduce a set of confidence-building measures, including a ceasefire in Hodeidah and an end to air attacks across the country by the Saudi-UAE alliance.

Sweden's foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, opened the talks at a castle in Rimbo, a town north of Stockholm, wishing the Yemen adversaries strength to find "compromise and courage" as they embark on the hard task ahead.

A Cairo-based Yemeni source close to the Hadi regime said the return of Houthis had been blocked in the past based on information that they had been in contact with militant trainers and financiers during their time out of country.

'We will spare no effort to make the consultations succeed, to bring peace, end the war of aggression and lift the siege.

"We hope now that the UN-led consultations can begin later this week", Sweden's deputy UN Ambassador Carl Skau told reporters in NY.

In the words of one: "The Iranians possibly feel that this is the time to move forward because they can see that pressure is being applied by the West on Riyadh to act promptly to bring an end to the war which is why they made a decision to support the talks".

How major U.S. stock indexes fared Tuesday
Treasury maturities at the front of the curve rose above longer-dated 5-year notes for the first time in more than a decade. US stocks veered sharply lower in afternoon trading today, pulling the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 700 points.

The evacuation of the wounded fighters has been a key condition of the Houthi movement to attend peace talks in Sweden this week.

The Houthi delegation arrived there on Tuesday, having failed to turn up for previous talks in Geneva in September.

The UN has sought to temper expectations around the talks, saying they aim to achieve "confidence building" between the two sides, who have been fighting in Yemen since 2015.

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

Rebel official Abdel Kader al-Murtadha confirmed the deal, adding that he hoped it would be "implemented without problem".

In a Monday statement, Iran's Foreign Ministry announced that Tehran is ready to help alleviate the worsening situation in Yemen, calling on the global community to speed up the operations to send humanitarian aids to the war-torn country.

Murtaza also noted that the agreement marks the first step towards resolving the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

If the negotiations in Sweden show results, "it is possible that we could find by the second half of the year that the extreme edge could get taken off the suffering of those people who have no form of income", he said.

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