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Yemeni government ‘ready’ to complete prisoner swap deal with Houthis

The Yemeni government announced Tuesday its readiness to complete the upcoming prisoner swap deal with the Houthi group.

“Regarding the deal for prisoners signed in Geneva with the other party (Houthi group) under the auspices of the United Nations, we announce that the Yemeni government team is ready to implement the deal at the specified time announced by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),” Yahya Kazman, the head of the government negotiation committee, said in a statement.

On Saturday, the Yemeni government said a prisoner swap with Houthi rebels under which 887 prisoners were scheduled to be released has been postponed until April 14.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthi group or the ICRC on the issue.

Last year, the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels signed an UN-brokered deal to free 2,000 prisoners, but their release was disrupted amid mutual accusations of violations of the agreement.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

*Ikram Kouachi contributed to this report

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