January 30, 2020 / 3:58 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Yemen's Houthis offer talks for Sudan prisoner swap via Red Cross -TV

(Adds quotes, context)

DUBAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Yemen’s Houthi movement is ready to hold talks with Sudan over an exchange of prisoners through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), al-Masirah, a television channel run by the Iran-aligned group, said on Thursday.

The Sudanese authorities said last month they had 5,000 troops operating in Yemen as part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis.

“We informed the Sudanese authorities through the ICRC that we have Sudanese prisoners, and that we are ready to hold negotiations with them for a swap deal,” al-Masirah said on Twitter, citing a Houthi official in charge of prisoner matters.

“We hope the Sudanese authorities will put pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to secure the release of their children,” the official added, implying that the Sudanese prisoners would be released in exchange for Houthis held by Saudi or UAE forces, or groups affiliated to them.

Yemen’s conflict is seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who control most big urban centres, say they are fighting a corrupt system.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed millions to the brink of famine. (Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, Editing by William Maclean)

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