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HomeWorldHouthi rebels: 15 Saudis to be released in Yemen prisoner swap

Houthi rebels: 15 Saudis to be released in Yemen prisoner swap


The Yemeni government and Houthis say more than 800 prisoners will be exchanged in total, following UN-brokered talks.

The two sides in the Yemen conflict say they have agreed to exchange detainees following talks in Switzerland facilitated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The head of the Yemeni government delegation said on Monday that about 880 prisoners would be exchanged.

Yemen’s Iran-affiliated Houthi group said it would release 181 prisoners, including 15 Saudis and three Sudanese, in exchange for 706 government prisoners, according to statements on Twitter by the head of the Houthi’s prisoner affairs committee Abdul Qader al- Murtada and the group’s chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdulsalam.

The UN and the ICRC did not immediately confirm that an agreement had been reached.

Saudi Arabia has also not commented on the Houthi officials’ statements.

There is hope that a deal could facilitate broader efforts to end the conflict, which have been helped by the resumption of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia this month.

UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council last week that intensive diplomatic efforts were being made at various levels to end the fighting.

The exchange of approximately 15,000 conflict-related detainees is under discussion as an important confidence-building measure under a December 2018 UN-brokered agreement known as the Stockholm Agreement.

Under that agreement, the parties agreed to release “all prisoners, detainees, missing persons, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared persons and those under house arrest”, “without any exceptions or conditions”.

But progress is slow. Some exchanges, including in 2022 and 2020, have been coordinated by the ICRC, in addition to smaller deals directly between the warring factions.

A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after Iran-linked Houthis overthrew the government from the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The conflict has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

A UN-brokered ceasefire last April has largely endured, despite it expiring in October without the sides agreeing to extend it.


Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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