Yemeni rivals trade blames for prisoner swap obstruction

Aden - Riyadh (Debriefer)
2019-04-25 | Since 4 Month

Yemeni rivals at peace talks

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

An official of the internationally recognized government has accused Houthi group of obstructing the final stage of prisoner swap deal, charges were already made two days ago by the other side against today's accuser.

Parties to the 4-year war in Yemen, after 8-day peace talks in Sweden, agreed on the 13th of last December to swap more than 16,000 prisoners within four to five weeks, to cease fire in Hodeida and redeployment of both sides' forces and to help alleviate blockade imposed by Houthis on Taiz.

But none of this has taken place so far, with both sides trading blames for trying to thwart the deal.

The stalled application of prisoner swap has led the UN envoy for Yemen to hold new talks in Amman to further deliberate its implementation.

However, official government's Human Rights deputy minister has said Houthis continue to reject fulfilling the final step, which is the exchange of people on whom data have been available from both sides.

"Militias are looking to buy time in order to prepare for launching a new war effort," Majed Fadayel, also a representative to the Supervisory Committee on the prisoner exchange, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

At Tuesday interview with Houthi-run Masyrah TV, the rebel leader accused the government of reneging the pact as agreed at Jordan talks.

"We told the other party we are ready to apply prisoner swap deal on all-for-all or partially basis," Abdul Malik al-Houthi added, but "we have found them uninterested."

For Fadayel, the prisoner deal has already stopped after the last meeting in Jordan last February, when government and Houthi representatives at the Supervisory Committee produced a list including 2,500 names of war prisoners who would be released in the upcoming exchange.

Houthis called for the deal to be fragmented, rejecting its unconditional implementation, in particular the release of the four people provided for by the UNSC Resolution 2216.

The last meetings have unveiled Houthi unwillingness to end the suffering of these prisoners, said the government official.

The UN envoy tries to resume talks, but Houthis press for divided swap, he added, noting that the UN has called on his government to restart talks ant the latter sees that the Houthis should first promise to go on with the swap, "otherwise it would be useless to sit again and waste time."

Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict between the legitimate Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi troops.

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