Yemen prisoner swap terms expected soon

Mirella Hodeib, Spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, addresses a news conference in Sanaa on Wednesday on the planned prisoners swap between Houthis and Yemen's internationally-recognised government. — Reuters

ADEN — The terms of a prisoner exchange are expected in around 10 days, a representative of the internationally recognized Yemeni government said on Wednesday.

Talks between the two sides took place in Jordan last week. Both parties need to agree on lists of prisoners to be swapped.

“We expect that in 10 days time the final signing will have happened,” the head of the government delegation to the prisoner-exchange talks, Hadi Haig, told Reuters by telephone.

The United Nations is pushing for the exchange and a peace deal in Yemen’s main port Hodeida. That could open the way for more talks between the Iran-aligned Houthi movement and the Yemeni government on ending the country’s civil war.

The swap was one of the least contentious confidence-building measures at December’s UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday that it hopes to see “progress in the coming days”.

“This is a crucial moment for the people of Yemen,” Red Cross regional director Fabrizio Carboni said in a statement issued at a press conference in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.

The ICRC said it was preparing for the swap by increasing staff numbers and arranging medical support. It was also preparing two planes to carry detainees between Sanaa and Sayoun. — Reuters