AMMAN (Dispatches) – The United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths announced on Sunday the launching of a new round of consultations on exchanging war prisoners between Yemen’s warring sides.
According to a press statement released by the envoy’s office, the fifth meeting of the Supervisory Committee on the Implementation of the Prisoners and Detainees Exchange Agreement between Yemen’s Saudi-backed militants and the Houthi Ansarullah movement has started in Jordan under the auspices of the United Nations.
Griffiths urged the delegations of the two warring sides "to prioritize in their discussions the immediate and unconditional release of all sick, wounded, elderly and children detainees as well as all arbitrarily detained civilians, including women.”
He also urged the parties "to discuss and agree on names beyond the Amman meeting lists to fulfill their Stockholm commitment of releasing all conflict-related detainees as soon as possible.”
The committee brings together the parties to the conflict in Yemen and is co-chaired by the Office of the Special Envoy for Yemen and the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to the envoy’s statement.
The delegations representing the warring sides will discuss the release of additional numbers of prisoners and detainees after releasing 1,065 prisoners and detainees in October last year.
The official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "this round will be specified to discuss implementing the second part of Amman’s deal signed between the two warring rivals on Feb. 16 of the last year.”
The second part of the Amman’s deal considers releasing nearly 300 prisoners from both sides including high-ranking former officials who are still captured by the Houthis in the country’s capital Sana’a, he said.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to suppress a popular uprising that had toppled a Riyadh-friendly regime.
The U.S.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war on Yemen has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past years.
More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, the U.S., and other Western governments.