Yemen parties: Prisoner swap before Ramadan

A prisoner swap has been a long-sought sign of progress for the talks

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Yemen’s warring parties have agreed to a prisoner exchange before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in early June, sources from both delegations told Reuters on Thursday.

The decision was a show of goodwill between the Iran-allied Houthis and Yemen’s Saudi-backed exile government as peace talks in Kuwait aimed at ending a year-long war dragged into a second month. However, the two sides appeared to differ on the number of prisoners to be released.

Sources from the Houthi militia’s delegation said 1,000 prisoners would be swapped, while a government source said the agreement entailed the release of “all detainees,” who number more than 4,000.

The sides will submit a list of prisoner requests to UN mediators within two days, after which “local committees” would be created to facilitate the exchanges, the Houthi sources said.

At a news conference earlier in the day, UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told reporters officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross had met with the delegations to explain its possible role in a release process.

A prisoner swap has been a long-sought sign of progress for the talks.

From our archive: Yemen talks: Agreement on major prisoner swap


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