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Yemen warring parties agree largest prisoner swap

Reuters/Aden

Sunday، 27 September 2020 09:09 AM

Yemen's warring parties have agreed to exchange some 1,000 prisoners at United Nations-sponsored talks as part of trust-building steps aimed at reviving a stalled peace process, sources said on Sunday.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths and an official from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are due to hold a news briefing later on Sunday at the end of a week-long meeting in Switzerland of the committee overseeing a prisoner swap deal first agreed at peace talks in Dec. 2018.
Sources familiar with the talks said the Yemeni government and the Houthi group they have been battling for over five years agreed a list of 1,080 prisoners in what would be the largest swap yet.
"What matters to us is implementing the prisoners (exchange) and not just signing it," senior Houthi political official Mohammed Ali al-Houthi tweeted early on Sunday.
The Sweden deal contained a prisoner swap which aimed for the release of some 15,000 detainees split between both sides but has been slowly and only partially implemented.
In unilateral moves, the Houthis last year freed 290 prisoners and Saudi Arabia released 128, while a locally mediated swap in Taiz governorate saw dozens freed. In January 2020, the ICRC facilitated the release of six Saudis held by the Houthis.
Griffiths is trying to restart political negotiations to end the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

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