YEMEN Press Agency

UN envoy to Yemen issues statement on prisoner exchange deal

SANAA, March 21 (YPA) – An office of the UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, announced on Monday the conclusion of the seventh meeting of the supervisory committee for the implementation of the prisoner exchange agreement.

The office said in a news statement that the exchange deal, which lasted ten days in Switzerland, between Sanaa and the Saudi-led coalition forces, was successful with the participation of all parties and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The statement confirmed the completion of an executive plan for the release of 887 captives held by both sides, and the parties’ agreement to reconvene next May to discuss more releases.

It indicated that the parties also committed to exchanging joint visits to their respective detention facilities, and to providing access to all captives during these visits.

The UN envoy, Hans Grundberg, welcomed the successful step, appreciating the concessions made by the parties necessary to reach this result.

He hoped that the suffering of all Yemeni prisoners waiting to be reunited with their loved ones and who are in pain due to fears about the fate of their loved ones would end soon.

The envoy stressed the United Nations’ keenness to facilitate progress towards the release of all prisoners, and encourage the parties to take individual initiatives to release more detainees continuously.

Grundberg appreciated the efforts of the Government of Switzerland to host the meeting and its continuous and consistent support for the efforts of the envoy’s office and the ICRC regarding the agreement to exchange detainees in Yemen, as well as the important role played by the ICRC in facilitating the releases.

For her part, the head of the ICRC delegation to Yemen, Daphnée Maret, considered this decisive step would end the suffering of many families who have been separated, and would contribute to building trust between the parties.

Maret stressed the importance of this agreement leading to more releases, pointing to the readiness of the ICRC to continue its role as a neutral mediator, to facilitate purely humanitarian visits to places of detention, contributing to restoring family ties, supporting the release, transferring and repatriation of conflict-related detainees so that thousands of others go home.

The meeting of the representatives of the parties came within the framework of their membership in the supervisory committee for the implementation of the prisoner exchange deal, which is co-chaired by the office of the UN envoy to Yemen and the ICRC.

In October 2020, the supervisory committee met and agreed to release more than 1,000 detainees from both sides.