Pris­oner swap deal adds to hopes for down­played Ye­men talks

Journal Pioneer - - WORLD -

RIMBO, Swe­den — Ye­men’s war­ring sides agreed to a broad pris­oner swap Thurs­day, sit­ting down in the same room to­gether for the first time in years at UN-spon­sored peace talks in Swe­den aimed at halt­ing a cat­a­strophic war that has brought the coun­try to the brink of famine.

Hopes were high that talks wouldn’t de­te­ri­o­rate into fur­ther vi­o­lence as in the past and that the pris­oner ex­change would be an im­por­tant first step to­ward build­ing con­fi­dence be­tween highly dis­trust­ful ad­ver­saries.

UN en­voy Mar­tin Grif­fiths said the two sides have sig­nalled they are se­ri­ous about deesca­lat­ing the fight­ing through calls they’ve made in re­cent weeks and urged them to work to fur­ther re­duce the vi­o­lence in the Arab world’s poor­est na­tion, scene of mas­sive civil­ian suf­fer­ing.

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