January 15, 2019 / 8:23 AM / a month ago

Jordan agrees to host a U.N. sponsored Yemen meeting on prisoner swap

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan agreed on Tuesday to a U.N. request to host a meeting between the Yemeni government and the Houthi group to discuss a prisoner swap deal that would allow thousands of families to be reunited, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The statement did not say when the meeting would take place.

The meeting is due to be of a follow-up committee set up to discuss implementing the deal agreed in U.N. peace talks last month in Sweden between the Iran-aligned Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

The deal to free prisoners simultaneously was part of confidence-building measures that included a plan to withdraw from the contested port city of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions facing famine, and place it under the control of an interim entity.

The two sides exchanged lists of some 15,000 prisoners for a swap agreed at the start of the Sweden talks and delegates said it would be conducted via the Houthi-held Sanaa airport in north Yemen and the government-held Sayun airport in the south.

The process would be overseen by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).The operation will require a Saudi-led military coalition to guarantee that air space is secure for flights, the ICRC said.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alison Williams

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