Yemen's Warring Sides Reach Agreement on Prisoner Swap at UN-Mediated Talks
- March, 21, 2023 - 14:18
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – At UN-brokered talks in Switzerland, Yemen's Ansarullah movement and the Saudi-backed administration of ousted president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi agreed to exchange over 880 prisoners.
The talks were held in Switzerland under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Abdul Qader al-Murtada, the leading delegate of the Ansarullah resistance movement, said that "an agreement has been reached to implement a (prisoner) swap" that will see more than 880 people released in total.
Under the deal, Ansarullah will release 181 detainees, including Saudi and Sudanese nationals, in exchange for 706 prisoners. The exchange is scheduled to take place within three weeks.
Majed Fadail, a member of the Saudi-backed administration's delegation, confirmed the release of former defense minister, Mahmoud al-Subaihi, and other officials, as well as four journalists. At least 15 Saudi citizens and three Sudanese nationals will also be freed. These negotiations mark the seventh meeting to implement an agreement on prisoner exchanges reached in Sweden five years ago.
UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg recently said momentum to end the war in Yemen had been renewed by a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume ties. Grundberg urged the warring parties to "seize the opportunity" to take decisive steps toward peace. In a meeting with Grundberg in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reaffirmed Tehran's support for the continuation of the ceasefire and the end of the Saudi-led blockade on Yemen.
After several days of negotiations hosted by China earlier this month, Iran and Saudi Arabia reached a deal to restore diplomatic relations and reopen embassies and missions within two months.
Former Saudi intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal expressed optimism that the agreement will be a "game-changer" for West Asia.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, displacing millions of people, and destroying the country's infrastructure, leading to the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. The most recent truce, which began in April 2022, had rekindled hopes of peace, but the Saudi-led coalition breached the terms of the ceasefire agreement.