Geneva, 17 April The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed today that 973 prisoners of war in the Yemeni conflict have been repatriated to Yemen and Saudi Arabia in the past four days, and highlighted the importance of his work as a neutral actor in carrying out this exchange operation successfully.

“I am delighted and proud that our teams have succeeded in returning so many detainees to their families over the past four days, and we are ready to do the same for those who have not yet been released,” the president said. of the ICRC in a press release. Marjana Spoljaric.

“The operation shows the real impact of the ICRC’s neutrality and its ability to work with all parties to bring people together after years of separation,” Spoljaric added.

From 14 to 16 April, flights chartered by the ICRC transported 869 detainees to six cities (Aba and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, and the Yemeni cities of Aden, Marib, Moca and Sanaa).

To these releases were added today 104 other detainees who were transferred to Yemen from Saudi Arabia, thanks to a unilateral operation initially not provided for in the prisoner exchange agreements.

“The releases brought together hundreds of families just before the start of Eid (end of Ramadan) celebrations and are an act of goodwill that may bring us closer to the end of the conflict after years of suffering,” he said. declared the head of the ICRC delegation. in Yemen, Daphnée Maret.

The prisoner swap represents the second largest agreed exchange since the start of the conflict in Yemen, after another operation carried out in 2020 in which more than a thousand people were released.

Yemen, at war since 2014, is the scene of the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet, according to the UN, since more than eighty percent of its population depends on humanitarian aid.

In recent weeks, contacts between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis have intensified, which has led to the conclusion of these prisoner exchanges, with a view to achieving a comprehensive solution to this war which has devastated the country.

The rapprochement between the Saudis and the Houthis, totally unthinkable a few months ago, comes after Saudi Arabia and its traditional regional rival Iran restored relations in early March with Chinese mediation, a decision that could reshape the entire Middle East region. EFE


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