‘Hopeful start’ made to Yemen peace talks
YEMEN’S warring sides agreed to free thousands of prisoners yesterday 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 to the verge of starvation.
UN mediator Martin Griffiths told a news conference 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 UN calls the world’s direst humanitarian crisis, since a Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in 2015 to restore a government ousted by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
No talks have been held since 2016, and the last attempt in Geneva in September failed when the Houthis did not attend.
Griffiths said the prisoner swop agreed to at the start of the talks would reunite thousands of families. The International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 5 000 prisoners would be freed.
The war, widely seen across the region as a proxy conflict between