Saudi Arabia says it is ready to release seven Houthi prisoners | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

16 February, Saturday


Saudi Arabia says it is ready to release seven Houthi prisoners

UN head hailed Saudi efforts for peace in Yemen during call with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

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The Arab coalition said on Wednesday that it will release seven Houthi prisoners in exchange for a Saudi soldier, amid an international push to revive Yemen's political process.

Houthi officials approved on Tuesday the release of Mousa Awji, who was suffering from deteriorating health conditions.

Mr. Awji was returned on a plane facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from Sanaa to Riyadh, Houthi officials reported.

“We are pleased that this person has now returned home and we continue to offer our services so that thousands more people can return to their families”, said Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC’s Regional Director for the Near and Middle East.

Yemen’s internationally recognised government and Houthi rebels agreed to exchange 15,000 detainees during peace talks in Sweden last month.

“This is an important step to continue building confidence among warring parties in Yemen”, Mr. Carboni said.

The two sides submitted lists of prisoners to the UN mediators after meeting with the ICRC in Amman this month to finalise the agreement. But have yet to agree on the full terms of the swap.

 

The operation is regarded as one of the least contentious confidence-building measures agreed during talks last in December as Western pressures mount to end the conflict.

The development comes as UN chief Antonio Guterres held a phone call with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday night.

The two officials discussed progress on resolving the war in Yemen and other regional issues, according to the Saudi Press Agency, SPA.

“The Secretary-General of the United Nations expressed his gratitude for the Kingdom’s support in pushing for positive results in the dialogue between the Yemeni parties,” SPA reported.

The international body is aiming to salvage a peace deal struck to implement a troop withdrawal from the port of Hodeidah.

It is the main entry point for Yemen’s commercial and aid imports.

The National

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