Yemen houthi
A Yemeni government fighter fires a vehicle-mounted weapon at a frontline position during fighting against Houthi fighters in Marib, Yemen March 28, 2021. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: The Yemeni government has said it holds Al Houthi rebels responsible for blocking a deal on prisoner exchange between the two sides signed more than two years ago under the UN sponsorship.

“Al Houthi militia continues to hamper implementation of the agreement without any attention to humanitarian considerations and deteriorating health of hundreds of kidnapped persons due to their dismal detention conditions in its illegal prisons,” Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al Eryani said.

In remarks to the Yemeni news agency Saba, the official held the Iran-aligned rebels responsible for safety of hundreds of politicians, activists and journalists detained from their houses and workplaces in rebel-controlled areas.

Al Eryani urged the world community to put “genuine” pressure on Al Houthis to carry out “prompt and unconditional” implementation of the prisoner swap agreement signed in Sweden in December 2018.

Both sides have since implemented limited exchanges of prisoners in cooperation with the Red Cross.

Al Houthis plunged Yemen in a devastating war in late 2014 when they toppled the internationally recognised government and overran parts of the country including the capital Sana’a.