Houthis and the Yemeni government agree to release hundreds of prisoners
The Houthis have agreed to release 181 inmates, including 15 Saudis and three Sudanese citizens, in exchange for the release of 706 captives detained by the Yemeni government
After 10 days of talks in Geneva, the Yemeni government and the Houthis decided to release 887 prisoners, according to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
They stated that the parties had also agreed to meet again in May to talk about additional prisoner swaps, visit each other’s detention facilities, and provide delegations complete access to all detainees during those visits.
The agreement, according to Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, gives more reason to believe that the conflict that has destroyed the nation for more than eight years and resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes is finally coming to an end.
Today is a good day for hundreds of Yemeni families, according to Grundberg. Yemen unfortunately doesn’t get as many happy days as it should. I want to sincerely thank everyone who was part in making this happen. Hundreds of Yemeni families can now look forward to seeing one another again.
But it’s crucial to keep in mind that when the parties signed the Detainees’ Exchange Agreement, they made a promise to thousands of Yemeni families who have been suffering from the agony of being separated from their loved ones for far too long.
Grundberg continued by stating that he feels there is now “a readiness to engage in a good direction on attempting to get to a settlement on the war in Yemen” in reference to the March 10 announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
In a statement made last week at a UN Security Council meeting, Grundberg hailed the Saudi Arabia-Iran deal and noted that the area was currently experiencing a “step change in the scope and depth” of negotiations to put an end to the protracted crisis in Yemen.
Meanwhile, he exhorted the parties to the conflict to take advantage of this “renewed regional diplomatic momentum” and move “decisively towards a more peaceful future.”
He stated on Monday that “if Yemen is to recover from the catastrophic toll the eight-year conflict has had on its men and women, a comprehensive and sustainable conclusion to the conflict is imperative.”
The Houthis have agreed to release 181 inmates, including 15 Saudis and three Sudanese citizens, in exchange for the release of 706 captives detained by the Yemeni government, according to a message sent on Twitter by the head of the militia’s prisoner affairs committee and Abdul Qader Al-Murtada. They said that the swap would happen in three weeks.
“It’s an expression of hope, it’s an expression of humanity, and it indicates the way ahead for all parties to the conflict,” said Fabrizio Carboni, regional director for the Middle East for the International Committee of the Red Cross, who was seated between representatives of the two delegations on Monday.
The negotiations, which were held close to Bern, Switzerland, were the most recent in a series of gatherings held in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement, which also resulted in the release of convicts in 2020 and 2022.
In addition to Jordan for hosting several meetings of the supervisory committee, Grundberg expressed gratitude to the Swiss government for hosting the discussions.