Aletho News


Yemeni prisoner exchange deal reached

The Cradle | March 20, 2023

The head of the National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Abdul Qader al-Murtada, announced on Monday, 20 March, that a deal to exchange prisoners had been reached between the Ansarallah resistance movement and the Saudi-led coalition, with implementation to take place in three weeks, Al-Masirah TV reported.

Al-Murtada stated that “Today we concluded the latest round of negotiations in Switzerland regarding prisoners, and it was agreed, praise be to God, to implement a broad prisoner exchange deal that includes 706 of our prisoners in exchange for 181 prisoners of the other side, including Saudis and Sudanese.”

“The deal will be implemented after three weeks, hopefully, and another round will be held after the month of Ramadan to complete the implementation of the rest of the agreement,” Al-Murtada added.

The latest round of negotiations began 10 days ago under the auspices of the United Nations.

The prisoner exchange deal comes amid renewed hopes for a broader end to the Yemen conflict.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg told the UN Security Council on 15 March that “Intense diplomatic efforts are ongoing at different levels to bring the conflict in Yemen to an end” and that “we are currently witnessing renewed regional diplomatic momentum, as well as a step change in the scope and depth of the discussions.”

Much of this momentum has resulted from a recent agreement between rival Islamic powers Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations and work toward peace in the region. As part of this reconciliation, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is set to visit Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi King Salman in the coming weeks.

Since the beginning of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which began in early 2015, an estimated 377,000 Yemenis have died, according to a UN Development Programme report issued in late 2021.

Some 60 percent of these deaths were caused by the indirect effects of the war, such as lack of safe drinking water, hunger, and disease, while fighting has directly killed more than 150,000 people.

Most of those killed by the war’s indirect effects were “young children who are especially vulnerable to under- and malnutrition,” according to the report.

During the same period, the US government provided $54.6 billion of military aid to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a report issued by the US Government Accountability Office. The report noted that the US has 140 military advisers working in Saudi Arabia on training missions and to facilitate weapons sales.

The New York Times reported that the internal government report concluded that the US State Department and Department of Defense “failed to assess civilian casualties caused by a Saudi-led coalition in the catastrophic war in Yemen and the use of American-made weapons in the killings.”

March 20, 2023 - Posted by | Aletho News | , ,

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