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Yemen reaches UN-mediated prisoner exchange deal with ex-officials

Abdul Qader al-Mortada, head of Yemen's National Committee for Prisoners Affairs

Yemen’s National Salvation Government announces reaching a United Nations-mediated deal with the country’s former officials for exchanging thousands of prisoners between the two sides.

Speaking on Sunday, Abdul Qader al-Mortada, head of Yemen's National Committee for Prisoners Affairs, said the deal enables swap of 1,400 prisoners from Yemen’s army and Popular Committees with 823 prisoners belonging to the former government, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported.

The National Salvation Government has been running Yemen’s affairs since 2015, when the government of president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi fled the country amid a political crisis, refusing to stay behind and negotiate power.

Mortada said the other side’s prisoners include Hadi’s brother and former defense minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi as well as 16 Saudi and three Sudanese nationals.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and many of its allies began waging an indiscriminate war on Yemen aimed at reinstating the former officials.

The war has stopped short of its goals while killing اhundreds of thousands of Yemenis in the process and turning the entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The announcement of the prisoner exchange deal came a day after Yemen’s Supreme Political Council declared a voluntary and unilateral three-day-long pause in retaliatory strikes against targets lying in Saudi Arabia.

Making the announcement, Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Supreme Political Council, said that in line with the decision, Yemeni forces will stop all missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia for the stated period.

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