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Yemen: Houthis say prisoner swap talks progressing very slowly

May 5, 2022 at 10:10 am

Representatives of Yemen’s Huthi rebels and a Yemen government delegation meet in the Jordanian capital Amman on 17 January 2019 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images]

Yemen’s Houthi group said yesterday that negotiations with the United Nations on the prisoner file are progressing “very slowly”,  Anadolu news agency reported.

Abdul Qader Al-Mortada, the Houthi official in charge of the prisoners’ file, said progress in the negotiations is being made very slowly, “despite our presentation of many proposals to resolve the humanitarian file”.

He held the internationally-recognised government responsible for the delay in implementing the prisoner exchange agreement under UN auspices, saying the government has been procrastinating in providing the lists of detainees.

On 27 March, the group announced reaching a prisoner swap deal under UN auspices which included the release of 1,400 Houthis in exchange for 823 pro-government prisoners.

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On the same day, the Yemeni government said it has agreed with the Houthis to release 2,223 prisoners and abductees from both sides.

Al-Mortada also revealed that 5,000 Houthis have been released since the outbreak of the conflict in 2015, pointing out that 95 per cent of them had been freed following local mediation.

For more than seven years, Yemen has been witnessing a violent war between the pro-government forces backed by an Arab alliance led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, and the Iran-backed Houthis, who control several governorates, including the capital, Sanaa, since September 2014.