Prisoner Swap: One Step Toward Peace Agreement in Yemen

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-11-25 02:43 PM UTC


The Yemeni parties to the conflict will begin a fresh round of negotiations on Sunday, November 26, in Jordan to reach an agreement on prisoner swap, government sources said on Friday. Holding these negotiations is part of peace efforts led by the United Nations, Oman, and Saudi Arabia to end the Yemen conflict.


Abdullah Abu Houria, a member of the government negotiating team, said this round of talks will be sponsored by the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) Hans Grundberg.


Abu Houria indicated that the prisoner exchange will be based on the all-for-all principle, and the release of political figure Mohammed Qahtan will be a priority for the government delegation. Since 2015, Qahtan has been in Houthi custody, and no information about his health or whereabouts has been provided.


Houthis have also confirmed that the new round of talks will begin on Sunday, November 26, focusing on the prisoner swap issue. The Houthi-run September 26 website said Friday that preparations were underway to start a new round of negotiations with the Yemeni government after a pause in talks.


While the Houthi group accuses the Yemeni government of Intransigence, the latter says the Houthis try to fail the discussions by demanding the release of persons who are not detained by the government forces.


In March this year, the two sides agreed to release nearly 900 prisoners of war in a U.N.-brokered deal. The deal involved the release of over 700 Houthi prisoners and over 180 captives from the Yemeni government, as well as Saudi and Sudanese soldiers who fought against the Houthis in Yemen.

The comprehensive exchange of prisoners between the Houthis and the Yemeni government aims to build confidence and push the two sides towards striking a final agreement on ending the conflict in Yemen.

Media reports lately said the Yemeni rivals were close to signing a peace agreement under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and Oman.


As per the agreement, Saudi Arabia will pay the salaries of all public employees in Houthi-controlled areas according to the 2014 payroll. The other point of the deal is that the oil and gas export will resume, and the oil and gas revenues will go to the government. The government will be responsible for paying public employees' salaries in provinces under its control.


Moreover, roads, ports, and airports will be reopened, and a complete prisoner swap will be achieved. All these arrangements will lead to the second stage of the agreement, which is the transitional period and the formation of a joint government. 


Ali Al-Qahum, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, said in a symposium in Sanaa on Thursday, "We have reached important and strategic understandings with Saudi Arabia…The understandings were based on humanitarian and economic aspects as a first stage."


According to Al-Qahum, the Saudi-Houthi understandings led to a Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue with the aim of reaching agreements to build a "stable state for all."

While peace efforts on ending the war in Yemen have paid off since last year, the recent Houthi involvement in the Gaza-Israel war can have consequences on the peace process in the country and can plunge Yemen anew into a cycle of violence.

The Houthi movement chief Abdulmalek Al-Houthi lately said the United States obstructed a peace agreement between his group and the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, revealing that the Americans threatened that the war in Yemen would return because of the Houthi involvement in the Gaza-Israel war.