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Yemen govt, rebels meet over prisoner exchange

The Associated Press

U.N. special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, right, speaks to Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, during talks on Yemen, in Amman on Tuesday.

The Associated Press SANAA (AP) — Yemen’s government and the Houthi rebels met in Jordan on Tuesday for talks on implementing a stalled prisoner exchange agreed upon in December.

The U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths said the three-day meeting aims to “finalize the list of prisoners and detainees to be released and exchanged.”

He stressed that a breakthrough in the prisoners’ deal would give momentum to the rocky talks over Yemen’s crucial port of Hodeida, where a U.N.-brokered truce has witnessed multiple breaches.

“Success in this regard is not only of huge importance for those who will be released and returned to their families, but also for the broader political process in which we are engaged together,” Griffiths said.

A Red Cross official said Monday that the deal has stalled because each side is demanding the release of more prisoners than the other claims to be holding.

Dominik Stillhart, operations director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said each side submitted a list with 8,000 names, but the other side says they are holding a “significantly lower” number.

Yemen was plunged into war in 2014 when the Iran-aligned rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led coalition intervened a year later, fighting alongside government troops.

The internationally recognized government and the rebels agreed on the prisoner swap and a local ceasefire in the key port city of Hodeida at U.N.-led talks held in Sweden in December.Speech

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