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Yemen prisoner swap talks end with no deal: UN

The conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people (Getty)

Date of publication: 21 February, 2021

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Talks on a possible prisoner exchange between Yemen's warring parties concluded Sunday with no deal after a month of wrangling, the UN said.

Talks on a possible prisoner exchange between Yemen's warring parties concluded Sunday with no deal after a month of wrangling, the UN said.

"I am disappointed that this round of talks did not amount to what we saw in Switzerland last September which resulted in the historic release of 1056 detainees," said the world body's Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, in a statement.

"I urge the parties to continue their discussions and consultations, conclude the implementation of what they agreed to and expand the arrangements to release more detainees soon."

Yemen's internationally recognised government and Huthi rebels had agreed in 2018 to swap some 15,000 detainees in a rare conciliatory move after years of war that has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

In October, hundreds of fighters from both sides headed home in the first large-scale handover since the war began, under a deal struck the previous month in Switzerland.

But talks led by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jordan since January 24 have failed to bring about another swap, the UN said Sunday.

The two sides, however, "committed to keep discussing the parameters of a future expanded release operation", it added.

"I reiterate my call for the unconditional release of all sick, wounded, elderly and children detainees as well as detained civilians, including women and journalists," Griffiths said.

The conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people, including many civilians, according to aid groups.

Some 3.3 million people have been displaced and 24 million - more than two-thirds of the population - are in need of assistance, according to the UN.

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