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US Welcomes Yemen Prisoner Exchange Deal

This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa.
This is a locator map for Yemen with its capital, Sanaa.

The United States has welcomed an agreement between Yemen’s warring sides to free nearly 900 detainees.

“This important step builds on the positive environment created by a truce in Yemen that has effectively stopped the fighting for the past 11 months,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. “We thank UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg and the International Committee of the Red Cross for their hard work finalizing the agreement.”

Monday’s agreement came after 10 days of negotiations in Switzerland.

It includes the Iran-backed Houthi rebels releasing 180 prisoners in exchange for Yemen’s internationally recognized government freeing more than 700 Houthi prisoners, according to Abdul-Qader el-Murtaza, the head of the Houthi delegation.

U.N. special envoy Hans Grundberg said the two sides agreed to meet again in mid-May to discuss more releases but added that there is much more work to be done to resolve the conflict that began in late 2014.

“A comprehensive and sustainable end to the conflict is necessary if Yemen is to recover from the devastating toll the eight-year conflict has had on its men and women,” Grundberg said.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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