Sources reported to Al-Jazeera that the two delegations of the Yemeni government and the Houthis signed in Geneva the first phase of the prisoner exchange agreement, on the other hand, more than 100 militants from the Southern Transitional Council arrived on Socotra Island as part of the UAE’s efforts to build a military base in the strategic archipelago.
The sources reported that the first phase includes more than a thousand prisoners from both sides, including Saudis and Sudanese.
Yemeni journalist Bashir Al-Harthi from Geneva said that this stage is the first breakthrough made by the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, as he was able to persuade the two parties to sign the first phase of the prisoner exchange agreement.
Al-Harithi added that according to the available information, 1081 prisoners from both sides will be released, including 19 Saudi and others Sudanese.
Al-Harthi stated that a press conference will be held tomorrow to announce all the details about the agreement, noting that the current Geneva Agreement is a continuation of previous consultations held in Stockholm and Amman, and that other stages are supposed to follow to complete the file of prisoners who number in the thousands on both sides.
In another context, local sources in the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra said that more than 100 militants affiliated with the Emirati-backed Southern Transitional Council arrived in the archipelago on board a ship coming from Aden, which is controlled by the Council.
The sources indicate that most of the militants belong to the areas of Al-Dhalea and Yafa, and that after their arrival to the archipelago, they moved on buses accompanied by military vehicles to the headquarters of the First Marine Brigade, where the STC militants control.
These developments coincide with the escalating pace of building an Emirati military base in the strategic “Qattainan” region, west of the Socotra Archipelago.
A government source told Al-Jazeera that the UAE is working to build a large military base west of Socotra and in a strategic area that overlooks the islands of the western archipelago, and is also working to establish a camp in the eastern part of the archipelago.
The “South Front” website, which specializes in military and strategic research, quoted unnamed Arab and French sources, that the UAE and Israel intend to establish an infrastructure to collect military intelligence information on the Yemeni island of Socotra.
Since last June, forces affiliated with the UAE-backed Transitional Council have controlled Socotra, after it was invaded by force of arms, which was described by the Yemeni government at the time as a coup against legitimacy.