Sanaa: Yemen’s Houthi group said on Saturday that it had received 13 prisoners of war released by Saudi Arabia, coinciding with the arrival of Omani officials in the Yemeni capital as part of international efforts to end the country’s long-standing conflict.
Abdulkadir al-Murtada, the Houthi official in charge of prisoner exchange talks, said in a statement that the group received on Saturday “13 detainees at Sanaa International Airport who were released by the Saudi authorities.”
He further revealed that the prisoners were released in exchange for a Saudi prisoner who was previously freed by the Houthis, without disclosing the exact timing of the Saudi prisoner’s release.
This step came ahead of a UN-backed wider prisoner exchange agreed upon by the warring sides in Yemen last month, which is scheduled to be implemented next week and see a total of 887 detainees released.
Also on Saturday, Omani officials arrived in the Houthi-controlled capital for talks with Houthi officials as part of the latest efforts to renew a ceasefire deal that expired in October 2022, according to Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the chief negotiator of the Houthi group.
“We want to reaffirm our demands, which include the immediate stop of the (Saudi-led coalition) aggression, the complete lifting of the blockade, and the payment of salaries of all state employees from the government revenues of oil and gas,” Abdulsalam said when greeting the Omani delegation at Sanaa airport.
The Omani delegation made no comments.
Peace efforts to end the war in Yemen have been increasing, particularly after recent Chinese efforts to ease tensions and restore diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Yemen has been mired in a war since the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern cities and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa. The war has resulted in tens of thousands of casualties and pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation.