Hopes of breakthrough as Yemen's warring parties agree to war dead exchange

Hopes of breakthrough as Yemen's warring parties agree to war dead exchange
Yemen peacemakers have reported progress in prisoner swap negotiations as both prepare to hand over the bodies of hundreds killed in the war.
1 min read
09 February, 2019
Yemen's war has claimed over 10,000 lives since 2015 [AFP]

Yemen's warring parties have agreed to exchange bodies of some of those killed in the country's ongoing war, according to negotiators.

Representatives of Yemen's internationally recognised government and Iran-aligned Houthi rebels said they agreed on Friday that each side will hand over a thousand bodies in three stages. The first stage will see the release of bodies from morgues.

The agreement came after four days of talks in Jordan, as part of efforts to implement agreements reached in principle in December.

The negotiators say they also made progress on an exchange of prisoners and would now consult with their leaders.

A deal on a prisoner swap has stalled because each side seeks the release of more prisoners than the other claims to be holding.

The Yemen conflict has triggered what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people at risk of mass starvation.

The war between the Houthis and troops loyal to the government escalated in March 2015, when President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia and the Riyadh-led coalition intervened.

The World Health Organisation has put the death toll since 2015 at about 10,000 people but rights groups say that figure could be five times higher.