By Nathan Morley
The senior negotiator of Yemen's Houthi movement said peace talks with Saudi Arabia are progressing and more discussions would be held to bridge differences.
After talks in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that the warring parties had begun an exchange of nearly 900 detainees.
The move is seen as a considerable confidence boosting measure. Mohammed Abdulsalam, the Houthi chief negotiator, said the talks with envoys from Saudi Arabia and Oman, which is aiding the talks, had been serious and positive.
Posting on social media, he said there was advancement on some issues with the hope of continuing studying outstanding issues.
It is reported that talks were centered on a ceasefire, opening Houthi-controlled ports and Sanaa airport, disbursement of public sector wages, reconstruction efforts, and the departure of foreign forces from Yemen.
Pope Francis has been following the crisis in Yemen with great concern. The country has been embroiled in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia stormed several northern cities and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa.
The UN says the ongoing conflict has left children and families in urgent need of food, water, and medical supplies. UNICEF reports 3.2 million children are internally displaced.