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    Armed men ride on the back of a truck to attend a rally held by supporters of Houthi rebels and Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to celebrate an agreement reached by Saleh and the Houthis to form a political council to unilaterally rule the country, in Sanaa, Yemen August 1, 2016

    Yemeni Gov't, Houthis Sign Agreement on Exchange of Detainees - UN Envoy

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    STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) - The delegations of the Yemeni government and the Houthi militants have signed an agreement on the exchange of detainees and prisoners of war during peace talks in Stockholm, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths has stated.

    "Today I am also pleased to announce the signing of an agreement on the exchange of prisoners, detainees, the missing, the forcibly detained, and individuals placed under house arrest. This is a huge tribute to those here present and of enormous importance to many thousands of families who seek [their] return. It will allow thousands of families to be reunited, and it is a product of very effective, active work from both delegations, and I am very grateful. What we will do here and in the coming weeks is [working] on the implementation of that agreement and make it happen," Griffiths said during a press conference.

    According to the special envoy, the consultations in Sweden may see the sides touch upon general points regarding the settlement of the conflict.

    "We will be discussing the release of prisoners… We will look at if there is an appetite, the opening of Sanaa airport… the issue of the economy, and how the two parties can contribute to a coherent economic plan… I don't want to be overly optimistic but I want to be over ambitious. We will deal with care, we will deal with respect. We have ambitions to discuss with them the outlines of what might constitute an eventual settlement… the framework for negotiations," Griffiths said.

    The two delegations arrived in Sweden on 5 December. The crisis settlement talks were expected to begin on 7 December and last through 14 December but have already begun earlier on 6 December, in a castle in Rimbo, a town north of Stockholm.

    READ MORE: Russian Envoy: Yemen Govt, Houthi Delegations to Arrive for Sweden Talks Tuesday

    Earlier the same day, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has said that the country will host a pledging conference on Yemen organized with the support of the United Nations at the beginning of next year.

    Sweden is currently hosting the intra-Yemeni talks between the governmental delegation and the Houthi rebels.

    The almost four-year war between Yemen and the Shiite Houthi movement has become the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with half of the Yemeni population assessed by the UN as being on the brink of starvation.

    Related:

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    Houthis Ready for Talks in Sweden, But Ask UN for Security Guarantees
    Houthis Agree to Pursue Talks on UN Role in Yemen’s Hodeidah - Special Envoy
    Yemeni Gov't Ready for Talks With Houthis for Sake of Lasting Peace - Envoy
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    exchange, detainees, agreement, Houthis, Yemen
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