Yemen government demands Houthis release captives to restart talks

Yemen government demands Houthis release captives to restart talks
The Yemeni government demanded that Houthis release prisoners before starting talks.
2 min read
23 July, 2018
The Yemeni PM demanded that Houthis withdraw from Sana (Getty)
Yemen's government said Sunday that it will return to the negotiating table with Houthi rebels if they release all the prisoners they are holding.

"It is necessary to show goodwill before the start of new talks through the release of all the detainees in their prisons," Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher said at talks with United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths in Riyadh, the Saba news agency reported.

He also demanded for the Houthis to "facilitate the arrival of humanitarian aid" in provinces where they control airports and ports.

UN envoy to Yemen Griffiths has been trying for weeks to restart talks on ending the conflict between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and the Iran-aligned Houthis that has killed nearly 10,000 people in the past three years.

Bin Dagher told Griffiths that any talks would have to lead to a withdrawal of Houthi forces from the capital Sanaa and other towns under their control, and the group's disarmament, Saba reported.

The war has pushed the impoverished country to the brink of famine, triggering what the UN says is the world's worst single humanitarian crisis.

Pro-government forces backed up by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia have paused their offensive on Hodeida port in a bid they say to give peace efforts a chance.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash in the United Arab Emirates, whose forces have been spearheading the Hodeida assault, warned that troops could "liberate" the port city if efforts fail.