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Yemeni local tribal mediation succeeds in releasing 135 prisoners

Hopes rise for a tribal role to be played in negotiating a cease-fire in Yemen, after local mediation succeeded in achieving several prisoner swap deals between the warring sides.
Yemen's warring parties attend a new round of talks to discuss a prisoners swap deal, in Amman, Jordan February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RC15EF0102D0

SANAA, Yemen — The prisoner exchange dossier between Yemen's internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels has witnessed significant progress recently when 135 prisoners (75 government forces and 60 Houthis) were released through local mediation. The swap was the largest ever mediated by local tribes since the war broke out in Yemen in 2015.

The office of UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and the International Committee of the Red Cross — which have been playing a significant role in the prisoner swap file since the war started — have yet to comment on the recent exchange as of the time of this writing. Their silence seems unusual since both parties have always welcomed any step taken by any side, considering such steps as a sign of goodwill and a way to advance inclusive negotiations to end the almost five-year war in Yemen.

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