Egypt welcomes prisoner swap deal between Yemeni gov’t, Houthi rebels

Egypt welcomed on Monday an agreement between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels to exchange 1,081 prisoners.

“Egypt appreciates the efforts made by the Office of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen and the International Committee of the Red Cross in this regard,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Egypt also called for an immediate implementation of the prisoner swap agreement, stressing that this would contribute to strengthening confidence-building measures and lead to a political settlement of the Yemeni crisis.

On Sunday, delegates representing the government of Yemen and the Houthi group announced that they have agreed to immediately release the first group of 1,081 conflict-related detainees and prisoners, the largest prisoner release in the country’s history.

The Iran-allied Houthi rebels seized the northern provinces including the capital Sanaa in late 2014, forcing Yemen’s President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government into exile.

An Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened militarily in the Yemeni conflict to fight against the Houthis in March 2015, in response to an official request from Hadi to protect Yemen.