SANA’A (Dispatches) – Delegations from Yemen’s warring sides are travelling to Switzerland to discuss a United Nations-backed agreement on prisoner releases, a Houthi Ansarullah movement spokesman and a UN source said on Tuesday.
The two delegations, which had been meeting in Jordan, are flying on Wednesday to Switzerland for week-long talks to finalize a deal on prisoner releases, the UN source said.
Mohammed Abdulsalam, chief negotiator of the Houthi movement told Reuters his group’s committee is set to leave Sana’a on a UN plane.
Earlier this year, the Houthi Ansarullah movement agreed to the UN offer to implement a major prisoner swap with Saudi-sponsored Yemeni militiamen loyal to the country’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Meanwhile, UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that he sent an "advanced draft” of a ceasefire deal to Yemen’s warring parties last week and "now is the time for the parties to swiftly conclude the negotiations.”
He also said the political importance of Marib should not be underestimated and that "military shifts and consequences and events in Marib have ripple effects on dynamics of the conflict across Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush Ansarullah movement.
The U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have purchased billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the United States, France and the United Kingdom in their war on Yemen.
Riyadh and its allies have been widely criticized for the high civilian death toll resulted from their bombing campaign in Yemen.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.