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Yemeni government denies prisoner swap proposal by Houthis

October 12, 2019 at 11:48 am

Houthis in Yemen on 4 December 2017 [Abdullah Homran/Anadolu Agency]

The internationally recognised Yemeni government denied on Friday that the Houthis, who occupy several governorates including Sanaa, had offered a prisoner swap involving 2,000 detainees, Anadolu News Agency reported.

“Commenting on the reports regarding Houthi’s proposal for a prisoner swap through local mediation, we have not received anything,” Hadi Haij, chief of the government detainees committee in the Yemeni government, wrote on Twitter “we have a clear stance,” he added.

Haij also posted “we must respect what we have signed and be truthful and ready to carry out the agreement,” referring to the prisoners swap deal, which was involved in the Stockholm Agreement reached in December of last year.

On Thursday, the head of the Houthis’ Prisoner Affairs Committee, Abdul Qader al-Murtada, was quoted as stating by Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV “we told the local mediators that we are ready to implement a prisoner exchange within one week.”

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He added “we are waiting for the other side to respond,” explaining that the proposed deal would cover 2,000 prisoners in “a first phase.”

The Stockholm deal reached by the Yemeni government and the Houthis on 13 December 2018, has been facing obstacles and both signatories have accused each other of obstructing its implementation.

The Yemeni government and the Houthis, backed by Iran, have been fighting each other since September 2014. In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab coalition started battling the Houthis, but it has never achieved gains of victory against them.