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Houthis offer Yemeni gov't prisoner swap deal

Houthis offer Yemeni gov't prisoner swap deal
Rebel group says it offered exchange deal involving 2,000 detainees; there is no immediate response from Yemeni government

SANAA, Yemen (AA) - Yemen's Houthi rebel group on Thursday announced it has offered to the Saudi Arabia-backed Yemeni government a prisoner swap deal involving 2,000 detainees, said a media report.

"We are ready to implement the deal within a week if they are ready. We are now waiting for their response," the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV quoted a statement from the head of the group’s prisoner affairs committee Abdulqadir al-Murtada.

There is no immediate response from the Yemeni government.

The government has repeatedly accused Houthis of obstructing this humanitarian issue.

In December, Yemeni government representatives and Houthi rebel leaders held a round of UN-brokered talks in Stockholm which yielded a ceasefire agreement in the Red Sea port city of Al-Hudaydah.

The warring parties, however, have yet to fully withdraw from Al-Hudaydah amid tit-for-tat accusations of truce violations and sporadic clashes in other parts of the country.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Since then, tens of thousands of Yemenis, including numerous civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, while another 14 million are at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara.

source: News Feed
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