Yemen government, Houthi rebels discuss prisoner swap before Ramadan

Published May 12th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
Yemenis shop at a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa on May 5, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Huwais)
Yemenis shop at a market in the old city of the capital Sanaa on May 5, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Huwais)

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said Tuesday that the Yemeni government and the Shia Houthi militant group were discussing proposals to conduct a prisoner exchange before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in June.

The move comes amid UN-brokered Yemen peace talks in Kuwait, which began last month following the announcement of a ceasefire.

In a statement, Ahmed said that proposals for a prisoner swap were floated at a meeting of a "prisoners committee" that includes both government and Houthi representatives.

The committee will continue to discuss the issue at meetings slated for Wednesday and Thursday.

Yemen has remained racked by chaos since 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

According to UN figures, the ongoing conflict has led to the death of some 6,400 Yemenis to date and forced some 2.5 million to flee their homes.


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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