352 Yemenis released on second day of prisoner swap

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Sat 17 Oct 2020 03:59 AST (Dated Thu 15 Oct 2020) Freed Saudi-led coalition prisoners pray as they arrive after their release in a prisoner swap, at Sayoun airport in Yemen on October 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Ali Owidha)
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A Houthi prisoner is carried into a plane to be transported to Sanaa airport as he is released by the Arab coalition in a prisoner swap, at Sayoun airport in Yemen on October 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Ali Owidha)
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Freed Arab coalition prisoners wave as they arrive after their release in a prisoner swap, at Sayoun airport in Yemen on October 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Ali Owidha)
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Updated 17 October 2020

352 Yemenis released on second day of prisoner swap

  • The exchange of prisoners was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross

ALMUKALLA: At least five planes managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Friday ferried 352 prisoners to Yemeni airports in the last phase of a major prisoner swap, the ICRC, local officials and residents said.

The ICRC said its planes transferred 1,056 former prisoners over two days on several flights between Aden, Sanaa and Seiyun airports.

“We’re happy to see the completion of the release and transfer of 1,056 former detainees, which was carried out with the Yemen Red Crescent and the Saudi Red Crescent Authority,” the ICRC said. “We’re encouraged by this success and hope that it leads to more steps toward the transfer and release of more detainees in the future.”   

Majed Fadhail, deputy minister of human rights, told Arab News that 151 government prisoners were traded with 201 Houthis on the second day of the operation.

A day earlier, the Yemeni government traded 470 Houthis with 221 of its prisoners, including five journalists, in addition to 15 Saudis and four Sudanese, under a UN-sponsored deal. The two-day operation was described by the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, as the largest of “its kind in the history of the conflict in Yemen.”

Official media reported on Thursday that Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered necessary medical services for some of the released. At the same time, hundreds gathered on Friday in the government-controlled cities of Aden and Seiyun to welcome the freed prisoners. Several large buses carrying dozens of former abductees forced their way into a large number of people who were carrying the Yemeni flag and flowers.


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.