- The Guardian
- Issue #2049
YEMEN: A prisoner exchange took place between Houthis and government forces. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that planes carrying detainees took off from the Houthi-held capital Sanaa at the same time as planes from the government-controlled city of Marib. The three-day exchange involved nearly 900 detainees. The next round of peace talks was expected to start on 21st April. Meanwhile, the prisoner exchange is a welcome step towards settling the conflict.
SUDAN: Violence erupted in the Republic of Sudan earlier this month. A disagreement between the Rapid Support Force (RSF) and the military over-integrating the RSF into the military as part of the transition towards civilian rule led to violent clashes between the two rivals. It was the first flareup of violence between the two sides since they joined forces to oust former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The governments of Egypt and South Sudan have offered to mediate between the fighting parties. The Arab League called for a ceasefire in Sudan. In its final statement issued after an emergency meeting to discuss the recent developments it stressed the need for a return to peaceful negotiations and “to establish a new phase that fulfils the ambitions of the brotherly Sudanese people and contributes to reinforce political and economic security and stability in this important country.”
POLAND: Poland and Hungary declared bans on grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine to protect their own agricultural sectors. Huge quantities of Ukrainian grain finished up in Europe instead of Asia or Africa where it was most needed. In Poland the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party is facing elections. The party’s support in rural areas is usually high but angry farmers could present a political problem for the government. The European Union bureaucrats were not amused with Poland’s decision. “We are aware of Poland and Hungary’s announcements regarding the ban on imports of grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine,” said the EU statement. “In this context, it is important to underline the trade policy is of EU exclusive competence and, therefore, unilateral actions are not acceptable.”
UK: The UK plans to permanently deploy a warship to the Indo-Pacific region, according to a government source. “The future is in Asia. We’ve got to have a presence in the Pacific to prevent China from doing something ridiculous like invading Taiwan.” The UK plans to deploy at least one Type-31 frigate.