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UN-sponsored talks on Yemen prisoner swap delayed

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UN-sponsored talks on Yemen prisoner swap delayed

Aden, Jan 18 (IANS) A new round of UN-sponsored talks over a prisoner swap deal between the Yemen government and the Houthi militia has been postponed due to Washington’s designation of

latter as “terrorists”, a top official said.

The official told Xinhua news agency on Sunday that the “talks about exchanging prisoners between the country’s two warring rivals were scheduled to begin this week under the auspices of the UN in Jordan”.

He confirmed that due to the US government’s decision to designate the Houthis also known as the Ansar Allah, as “terrorists”, the UN-sponsored talks were delayed.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Department of State would blacklist the Houthis on January 19, one day before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Pompeo cited the December 30, 2020, attack on Aden Airport, which killed at least 26 people and injured more than 50 others.

However, the UN and Yemeni analysts noted that this move would complicate the UN-brokered peace plan and international aid efforts in the impoverished Arab country.

According to figures released by the UN in December 2020, more than 230,000 Yemenis have died in the six-year-old war, mostly because of a lack of food, health services and infrastructure.

The Houthi militia has intensified attacks on the Yemeni government-held cities in the past year that killed and injured hundreds of people, according to the government of the war-torn country.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Houthi rebels seized control of northern provinces and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in 2015 to support Hadi’s government.




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