SANA’A (Dispatches) – The head of a Saudi team visiting Yemen’s capital as part of a prisoners swap agreement has thanked the Sana’a government’s authorities for their good treatment of Saudi inmates captured during the Riyadh-led war against Yemen.
“I thank you – on my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues for the good treatment of our prisoners, and for the kind reception and hospitality. This is not surprising from you, as you are the people of generosity,” Salem al-Harbi said after reviewing the conditions of the Saudi prisoners in Sana’a.
“And your colleagues who arrived in the kingdom are our brothers and their place is above the head,” he added, referring to a team from Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs that had earlier headed to Riyadh to check the conditions of the Yemeni war prisoners in Saudi jails.
For his part, Abdul Qader al-Murtada, head of the National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs in the Sana’a government, said the purpose of the Saudi delegation’s visit was to see the conditions of their prisoners in the Yemini capital and also to match and verify their names in order to prepare for an exchange process in the near future under a UN-brokered agreement that was signed last March.
“Our technical team was tasked with validating the names and condition of our prisoners ahead of a possible exchange deal,” Murtada said, expressing hope that mutual visits by the Saudi and Yemini delegations would be a gateway to reach a comprehensive solution to the humanitarian issue.
Yemen’s National Salvation Government announced on March 27 that a prisoner exchange deal was agreed upon between the warring parties under which 1,400 prisoners from the Yemeni army and popular committees would be released in return for 823 from the other side, including 16 Saudis and three Sudanese.
Yemini and Saudi media reported that the delegations had been dispatched to each other’s capitals to discuss the prisoner exchange portfolio.
A delegation representing Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement also visited Riyadh and toured the prisons that are holding Yemeni fighters.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — the closest allies of the U.S. in the region after the Israeli regime — have been spearheading the war on Yemen since March 2015.
The invasion has been seeking to change Yemen’s ruling structure in favor of the impoverished country’s former Riyadh- and Washington-friendly rulers and crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement. The Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives.