Dozens of Yemeni families rejoiced on Thursday due to announcing the success of a local prisoner exchange deal between the forces affiliated with the rescue Government in Sana’a and the factions receiving support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the governorate of Taiz, southwest of Yemen.
The deal included about 135 prisoners from both sides, and led by local mediators.
This deal could have included more numbers were it not the coalition’s repeated attempts to block it; the last of them is to target a prison in Dhamar. It included fighters from Taiz in early September 2019. This was confessed by the head of the Prisoners Committee in Sana’a, Abdel-Qader Al-Murtada.
This deal is not the first; it is the second in a week, following the success of a similar deal in Shabwa governorate, in southern Yemen.
Over the past years, the Yemeni parties have succeeded in implementing more than 300 successful prisoner exchange operations. According to Al-Murtada’s statements, during which these parties managed to release more than seven thousand prisoners.
These deals, some of which were made before the Sweden agreement was reached, that included a special chapter on prisoners, even during the signing in December 2018 up to today, a year after its announcement, and it were not related to the agreement.
According to the confessions of the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, who recently issued a report assessing the Sweden Agreement, It was clear by pointing out that the prisoners’ part of the agreement did not achieve any success, Compared to local initiatives, referring to the latest initiative of Sana’a at the time which culminated in the release of about 300 prisoners.
As for Taiz deal, the local parties fought a difficult struggle to conclude it, unlike other areas in Yemen that were more flexible in dealing. The reason, according to what the leader Olfat Al-Dubai in Islah party sees, was the lack of independence in the faction’s delegation in Taiz, the prisoner’s negotiator, and its association with directions in reference to the alliance. This foiled the Houthi delegation’s attempts and persistence – it says.
It based on reality; even the last deal would not have taken place, because the relationship of the factions in Taiz, with the alliance reached a crossroads.
Saudi-led coalition positions in blocking any local settlements especially in the file of prisoners started early.
According to previous statements by the head of Prisoners Committee, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were keen to keep this file in their hands. They obstructed Sanaa’s initiatives aimed at resolving the prisoners’ file in the Swedish agreement, and it blew up all the initiative, because it sees in this part a trump card to press for the release of Saudi and Emirati officers and soldiers, and as far as they were able to achieve that behind the guise of “legitimacy”.They also used this paper to swap some prisoners and demand ransom.
Unlike the Hadi government and the coalition, who are not seriously sees the prisoners file unless to thier specific agenda.
Sana’a seemed more eager to end the prisoners’ suffering
Perhaps the latest evidence for this, The allocation of Ansar Allah movement leader, Abd al-Malik al-Houthi, as part of his meeting with Griffiths on his last visit, to discuss the file of a woman from Al-Jawf held by the coalition, called Samira Marsh, Prior to that, Houthi’s assertions of the need to keep the prisoners file humanitarian and keep it away from other interactions.
Add to that the concessions made by Sana’a, in order to end this file, to emerge before the start of Sweden’s negotiations as the closest solution, without changes in the position of the alliance, and the notifications made to the file.