Sunday, 14 February 2010

Tensions over shaky truce after Al Houthi holds back Saudi prisoners

By Nasser Arrabyee/14/02/2010

Al Houthi rebels refused to hand over the five Saudi prisoners saying Saudi Arabia should first release their prisoners, sources close to mediation committees said Sunday.

With this refusal of this essential issue, Al Houthi rebels are recanting the first and for most important step they accepted to do immediately after the cease-fire, which enters its fourth day.

Re-opening the blocked roads and releasing the Yemeni and Saudi "kidnapped" people is the first thing that the two governments wanted the rebels to do before starting to implement the Yemeni government's six conditions for ending the six year-old armed rebellion.

This refusal also came after the end of a 48-hour ultimatum given to Al Houthi rebels by the Saudi deputy minister of defense Khaled bin Sultan. The ultimatum ended at 1:00 pm Sunday.

Mohammed Al Hawri, chairman of the field committee in charge of prisoners and the borders, said today that he met with the representatives of Al Houthi in Al Malahaid city after the rebels reopened the road, which leads to the city. The official Al Hawri did not give any more details.

However, sources confirmed that Al Houthi rebels did not hand over the Saudi prisoners as it was agreed upon, because the rebels wanted to swap them with their prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi authorities, repeatedly said, they would not deal with the rebels over any issue whatsoever, but they would deal only with the Sana'a legitimate government.

The Saudi officials would only hand over Al Houthi rebels only to their government as Yemenis.

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