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Yemen’s warring sides should swiftly implement largest prisoner swap deal: Iran

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)
Fabrizio Carboni, regional director for the ICRC, Abdulkader al-Murtada, head of the Houthi prisoner exchange committee and Hadi Haig, head of the ex-Yemeni government delegation, react after the closing plenary of the fourth meeting of the Supervisory Committee on the Implementation of the Prisoners’ Exchange Agreement in Yemen, in Glion, Switzerland, September 27, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran has hailed the largest prisoner exchange agreement in the five-year conflict in Yemen, urging the warring parties to implement the deal as soon as possible.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran regards this agreement as a step to help settle the current crisis in Yemen peacefully,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday.

The Iranian official described the deal as a step towards resolving the Yemeni conflict and called on the two sides of the agreement — the Houthi Ansarullah movement and the Saudi-allied government of ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi — to fulfill their commitments the soonest possible.

“This agreement shows that Yemeni-Yemeni talks are the only solution to the problems currently facing the country,” Khatibzadeh said.

The United Nations said on Sunday that the warring sides in Yemen have reached a “milestone” agreement to swap more than 1,000 prisoners, as part of trust-building steps to revive stalled UN-brokered peace negotiations.

In a press conference, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said he was “personally extremely pleased to be here to announce that you have reached a very important milestone.”

Since March 2015, Riyadh and a coalition of its vassal states, including the United Arab Emirates, have waged a devastating war on Yemen in a futile attempt to reinstall a Saudi-friendly government, led by Hadi.

The invasion also aims to crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement, whose fighters have been of significant help to the Yemeni army in defending the country against the Saudi invaders.

The Western-backed war, which has been accompanied by a crippling all-out blockade of Yemen, has killed tens of thousands of people and afflicted the already-poorest Arabian Peninsula nation with the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” according to the UN.

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