UN hopes talks will be constructive

New round of peace talks begin on April 18

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen on Friday welcomed a recent prisoner swap between the parties to the Yemen conflict and urged them to "engage constructively" in a new round of peace talks set to begin on April 18.

Earlier this week, a Saudi-led military coalition said it had completed a prisoner swap in Yemen, exchanging nine Saudi prisoners for 109 Yemeni nationals ahead of a planned truce and peace talks aimed at ending the year-long war with Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

"These initiatives reinforced the spirit of the confidence building measures recommended at the previous round of talks and there is no doubt that they can provide an important drive to the political process," UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a statement.

"I am looking forward to the active participation of relevant parties in the talks," he added. "Yemeni delegations should seize this opportunity to provide a mechanism for a return to a peaceful and orderly transition."

Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the two sides have confirmed a cessation of hostilities starting at midnight on April 10 ahead of the peace talks set to begin in Kuwait a week later.

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