Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Abdulkader al-Murtada, head of the Houthi prisoner exchange committee, shakes hands with Hadi Haig, head of the Yemeni government delegation, at the end of a week-long meeting on a Yemen prisoner exchange agreement, in Glion, Switzerland, on Sept. 27, 2020.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen wants to build on Sunday’s announcement of the largest prisoner exchange agreement in the five-year conflict to pave the way for a national ceasefire and a political solution to end the war, he said.

Yemen’s warring parties agreed to exchange 1,081 prisoners, including 15 Saudis, as part of trust-building steps aimed at reviving a stalled peace process, the United Nations said.

“I was told that it’s very rare to have prisoner releases of this scale during the conflict, that they mostly happen after a conflict,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths told Reuters in the Swiss village of Glion where the deal was announced.

Story continues below advertisement

The timing, sequence and logistics of the exchange were still being finalized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which will organize the transfers, he said.

Griffiths is trying to restart political negotiations to end the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and caused what the United Nations describes as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with millions on the brink of famine.

The Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement they have been battling for over five years signed a deal in late 2018 to swap some 15,000 detainees split between both sides but the pact has been slowly and only partially implemented.

“Our overall aim at the moment is to bring an agreement on what we call a joint declaration which is a national ceasefire to end the war in Yemen,” Griffiths said, adding it would be accompanied by measures to open up ports, airports and roads.

“This achievement here I think will undoubtedly have a bounce effect for that, that it will encourage the parties to go the extra mile to resolve final differences,” he said.

Heads of the delegations hugged after closing their discussions, with Griffiths saying: “Well done, well done.”

‘BUILDING TRUST’

Saudi Arabia welcomed the agreement as a step toward a comprehensive political solution and called on the Houthis not to undermine Griffiths' efforts.

Story continues below advertisement

“The aim behind this agreement is purely humanitarian. It will also establish a solid base for dialogue and for reaching a comprehensive political solution,” said Colonel Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the military coalition.

During a news conference in Riyadh, Malki said the first phase of the agreement would release 400 people, including 15 Saudi soldiers and four Sudanese, while the coalition would free 681 Houthi fighters in the largest swap since the peace talks in Stockholm in December 2018.

Abdulkader al-Murtada, of the Houthi prisoner exchange committee Abdulkader al-Murtada, gave the same figures to reporters in Glion, saying: “Of course this file is considered to be one of building trust between the parties and if there has been any positive movement in the prisoners' file, without a doubt it will influence the other files.”

ICRC Middle East director Fabrizio Carboni called for “security and logistical guarantees” for swift releases.

Yemen has been mired in conflict since the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, prompting the Western-backed coalition to intervene in March 2015.

The conflict, seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been in military stalemate for years with the Houthis holding Sanaa and most big urban centres.

Story continues below advertisement

The Saudi-led coalition said on Sunday it had intercepted a drone over Yemen that the Houthis had fired towards southern Saudi Arabia.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies