The United Nations announced today that the Yemeni government and the Houthi group had agreed during talks in Switzerland that spanned 10 days to exchange 1081 prisoners, including Saudis and Sudanese, in a step described as historic in the Yemeni crisis.
For his part, Al-Jazeera correspondent Ayyash Darraji said that the exchange was agreed on October 15, and added that the agreement includes the release of 681 Houthi prisoners from the government, in exchange for 400 government prisoners of the Houthis, including 15 Saudis and 4 Sudanese.
In front of the headquarters that hosted the talks in the Swiss city of Montreux, Draghi said that after 10 days of negotiations, the United Nations and the Committee of the Red Cross were able to come up with this agreement, which observers described as historic.
In a press conference held to officially announce the agreement, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said, “Our goal is to build on the agreement and move to negotiate other issues to bring about lasting peace, and we look forward to meeting again on the process of releasing additional prisoners.”
In turn, the Red Cross Committee welcomed the agreement, and its representative at the press conference called on the two parties to “provide security and logistical guarantees so that this process is transferred from paper to the ground.”
The representative of the Red Cross added that “we are concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the conflict, but we believe that the agreement will give hope to the Yemeni people and enable positive solutions to be reached.”
Earlier, prior to the official announcement of the agreement, Yemeni journalist Bashir Al-Harithi said that the prisoner exchange deal between the Yemeni government and the Houthis was the only file in which Griffiths had made progress.
Al-Harithi suggested that other deals between the two sides would follow this step, but stressed that there is no link between them and the political and military files.