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Yemen proposes new prisoner swap with Saudi-led coalition

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, taken on January 18, 2021, young supporters of Yemen's popular Ansarullah resistance movement raise their fists up as they chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the closed US Embassy in the capital Sana'a, to reject outgoing US President Donald Trump's decision to designate the Huthi group a "foreign terrorist organization." (By AFP)

Yemen’s National Salvation Government has proposed a new prisoner swap with the Saudi-led coalition, amid a delay in the implementation of a previously agreed prisoner exchange deal.

Abdul Qader al-Murtada, the head of the National Committee for Prisoner Affairs, said on Sunday the offer stipulates “the release of 200 prisoners from each side before Eid al-Fitr,” which will begin next week.

He noted that the offer was submitted to the Saudi-led coalition through the United Nations.

The official said Yemen was waiting for the coalition’s response that it hopes would be “positive.”

Last month, Yemen’s prisoner affairs committee announced that a prisoner exchange deal was agreed between the warring parties under which 1,400 prisoners from the Yemeni army and popular committees would be released in return for 823 from the other side, including 16 Saudis and three Sudanese.

The United Nations brokered a truce between the coalition and Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement earlier this month.

In line with the agreement, the coalition agreed to end its attacks on the Yemeni soil that it began in March 2015 with the goal of changing Yemen’s power structure in favor of the country’s former Saudi-allied officials.

The coalition also agreed to end a simultaneous siege that it has been enforcing against Yemen.

In a blow to the ceasefire agreement, Saudi Arabia on Sunday refused to issue a permit for the first commercial flight from Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a in six years, which was supposed to take passengers needing medical care.

Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said the move proves the coalition’s “lack of seriousness about peace."

Rights group slams Saudis for breaching truce deal

The Insan Organization for Rights and Freedoms slammed the Saudi-led coalition for failing to implement the provisions of the two-month truce deal, including the full lifting of the blockade on Sana’a airport and Hudaydah port.

In a statement on Monday, the group condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s failure to allow the first commercial flight from Sana’a to operate.

The rights group also called for the “urgent and immediate” lifting of the blockade imposed on Sana’a airport, holding the member countries of the Saudi-led coalition responsible for the harm caused by the continuing siege to more than 25 million civilians in Yemen.

It also urged the United Nations and rights groups to condemn the move that contravenes the international charters and press the coalition to implement all the truce deal's provisions.

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