Arab coalition releases 200 Houthi prisoners to support peace deal

he Arab coalition said on Tuesday it had released 200 Houthi prisoners to support peace efforts aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 27 November 2019

Arab coalition releases 200 Houthi prisoners to support peace deal

  • Aim is to support a UN-brokered deal aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government has released 200 Houthi prisoners, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday, citing coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

Its aim is to support a UN-brokered deal aimed at ending the nearly five-year war in Yemen, said a statement, adding that the purpose is to pave the way for a larger and long-delayed prisoner swap agreed upon last year.

The coalition is also conducting flights in cooperation with the World Health Organization to transport patients from Sanaa to countries where they can receive appropriate medical treatment, he added.

The coalition has been battling the Iran-backed Houthis on behalf of Yemen’s internationally recognized government since 2015. 

The two sides signed a UN peace deal in Sweden last December but have yet to implement it.

The prisoner swap was part of a UN-negotiated agreement reached in Sweden last December. The agreement involved a cease-fire in the port of Hodeida.

Yemeni government officials were quoted by The Associated Press as saying the release of prisoners was a trust-building measure aimed at encouraging the Houthis to negotiate with the coalition to end the war.


US honors head of France’s Arab World Institute

Updated 28 January 2020

US honors head of France’s Arab World Institute

  • Dr Jack Lang was recognized for promoting the Arab region and cross-cultural understanding
  • First recipient of the Global Cultural Leadership Award from the National Council on US-Arab Relations

WASHINGTON: Dr. Jack Lang, president of the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) in Paris, on Monday received the inaugural Global Cultural Leadership Award from the National Council on US-Arab Relations.

The honor was recognition for his achievements in expanding knowledge of the Arab region and promoting cross-cultural understanding. It was presented to him at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington by the council’s Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony, board Chairman John Pratt, International Advisory Board member Leo A. Daly III, and Executive Vice President Patrick Mancino.

Lang and a delegation from the institute were in Washington for the opening of the IMA exhibition “Age Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.

“What Monsieur Lang and the IMA have achieved in highlighting the rich history and culture of the Arab region is considerable,” said Anthony during the award presentation ceremony. “They have done much to showcase Arab contributions to knowledge and understanding that have benefited the world’s civilizations and humankind in general.

“Under Monsieur Lang’s leadership, the IMA has effectively pushed into new territories in storytelling and technology that help further illuminate the innumerable, extraordinary and myriad impacts that Arabs have had on humanity’s endless quest for modernization and development.”

Lang was appointed IMA president by French President Francois Hollande in 2013. He was previously a National Assembly member for more than two decades, including stints as France’s minister of culture and minister of education. He was also mayor of the city of Blois from 1989 to 2000, and served as a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The IMA, which is located on the banks of the Seine in Paris, opened in 1987 as a center dedicated to the promotion of Arab civilization, knowledge and art. It contains unique collections and hosts special touring exhibitions. These include “AlUla: Wonder of Arabia,” showcasing Saudi Arabia’s Nabataean archaeological treasure, the dates for which were recently extended after it proved to be incredibly popular.

The National Council on US-Arab Relations was founded in 1983 as a nonprofit, nongovernmental, educational organization. It is dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of the extraordinary benefits the United States has derived from its special relationships with countries in the Arab region, and vice versa. Anthony and the council are working on plans for an Arab Cultural Institute, similar to the IMA, in Washington.