Yemen Factions Agree to Mass Prisoner Exchange

Both Sides Will Release 50% of Detainees Within 20 Days

by Jason Ditz, May 10, 2016

While the peace process itself is still slow going, the meetings in Kuwait have yielded one major sign of progress, a massive prisoner swap agreed to by the combatant factions, which will take place in the next 20 days.

According to the pro-Saudi faction, the deal will see both sides releasing some 50% of their detainees over that period of time, which they estimated to be somewhere in the thousands of people overall. The Houthis, however, suggested it would only be in the high hundreds of detainees.

The deal came in the wake of a two-day pause in the peace talks last week, when pro-Saudi forces withdrew, accusing the Houthis of a “ceasefire violation” because of combat they had with a third party, a neutral faction of former Yemeni military forces.

When the talks began, there was high hope they might finally end a war which has been ongoing for over a year now. The pro-Saudi forces are demanding to return to power after former President Hadi’s resignation in January of 2015, while the Houthis are seeking a path to new elections.

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