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Yemen's rival sides complete war's largest prisoner swap

October 18, 2020 00:00:00

SANAA, Oct 17 (AP): Yemen's warring sides completed a major, U.N.-brokered prisoner swap on Friday, officials said, a development that could revive the country's stalled peace process after more than five years of grinding conflict.

This week's prisoner release, the largest-ever in the war, marks a breakthrough in the implementation of a long-awaited deal between Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led military coalition supporting the country's internationally recognized government.

International pressure has been building on the parties to end the war, which has killed thousands of civilians and triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"We're very happy this operation has concluded with success, regardless of how challenging it was to put it together," said Yara Khawaja, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen, which has overseen the swap. She expressed hope it would help the warring sides overcome mistrust and restart more substantive negotiations "to end the suffering of millions of Yemenis."

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