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Yemen Conflict: Saudi-led coalition declares ceasefire

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RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen announced a ceasefire on Tuesday that will take effect on Wednesday, with peace negotiations perhaps beginning during Ramadan.

“The coalition hereby announces the cessation of military operations in Yemen beginning at 0600 am (0300 GMT) Wednesday, March 30, 2022,” the coalition said in a statement carried by the Saudi News Agency.

This “coincides with the start of Yemeni consultations with the goal of providing the right conditions for their success and a favorable environment for peacemaking in Yemen during the holy month of Ramadan,” it added.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led an Arab coalition against the Houthis, who are backed by Iran and fighting the coalition-backed Yemeni government. The conflict has wreaked havoc on the country’s humanitarian situation.

On Saturday, the Houthis declared a three-day cease-fire, indicating that hostilities could be over by Saturday with peace talks.

The Houthis said on Sunday that they had reached an agreement with the government to release 823 pro-government employees in return for 1,400 of their fighters.

Abdul Qader al-Murtada, the leader of the group’s prisoner affairs committee, said that among those slated to be released is Yemen’s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s brother.

The last prisoner swap, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, took place in October 2020, with 1,056 individuals released on both sides.

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