Houthis release a number of high-profile prisoners to facilitate peace talks: UN
The United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (C) speaks during a press conference ahead of his departure at Sanaa international airport on January 14, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Huwais)
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Yemen’s Houthi rebels have released a number of high-profile prisoners in a bid to help resolve the long drawn-out conflict gripping the country.
The United Nations said Thursday that Houthis had freed a key minister and a number of other inmates to bolster UN-sponsored peace talks.
Technical Education Minister Abdul Razak Ashwal as well as four others have been released, UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said at a press conference in the capital Sana’a.
The Houthis took control of Sana’a in September 2014 after their demands for more of a say in the political system was ignored by the government of embatteled president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Hadi then sought refuge in the southern port city of Aden before fleeing to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh launched a military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 to reinstate Hadi. The attacks have left more than 7,500 Yemenis dead.
Last month, the warring sides in Yemen agreed during talks in Switzerland, but a mutually agreed truce was repeatedly violated and eventually declared over by Saudi Arabia.
Fresh negotiations set for January 14 were delayed and the UN has yet to reschedule new talks.
The Houthis say Hadi and Saudi Arabia used the previous round of negotiations as a cover to make more military gains.
Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material
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