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Yemen rivals agree prisoner swap as talks begin

Yemen rivals agree prisoner swap as talks begin

Reuters
STOCKHOLM
Yemen’s warring sides agreed to free thousands of prisoners on Thursday, in what a UN mediator called a hopeful start to the first peace talks in years to end a war that has pushed millions of people on the verge of starvation.
UN mediator Martin Griffiths told a news conference in a renovated castle outside Stockholm that just getting the warring sides to the table was an important milestone.
The war has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s direst humanitarian crisis, since a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in 2015 to restore a government ousted by the Houthi movement.
Griffiths said the prisoner swap agreed at the start of the talks would reunite thousands of families.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 5,000 would
be freed.
The war, widely seen across the region as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been stalemated for years, threatening supply lines to feed nearly 30 million inhabitants.
The Houthis control the capital Sanaa and most populated areas, while the ousted government based in the southern city of Aden has struggled to advance despite the aid of Arab states.
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