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ADEN, Yemen's government and the opposition Southern Transitional Council (STC), on Sunday, started exchanging about 53 prisoners, under a Saudi Arabia-brokered deal, in the south of the country.

The prisoner swap deal was signed between the two Yemeni warring rivals, in the Saudi capital, Riyadh last Nov, a local military official said.

Nearly 33 prisoners of the STC were released from government's jails in Shabwa Province. In exchange, 20 prisoners affiliated with the government were also released from STC's jails, the source noted.

All these prisoners were received by the forces of the Saudi-led Arab coalition operating in Yemen.

On Thursday, also supervised by Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni government signed an agreement with the STC, about the mechanism of mutual troops withdrawal from the country's southern turbulent region.

The new agreement specified 20 days, starting Jan 11, for the withdrawal of all STC's military units and government forces stationed in the country's southern regions, including Abyan and Shabwa, according to the Yemeni source.

Last year, Saudi Arabia persuaded the STC and the Yemeni government to hold reconciliation talks, which succeeded in reaching a deal to form a new technocrat cabinet of no more than 24 ministers.

The deal also asked for the return of the exiled Yemeni government to Aden and the unification of all military units under the authority of the country's interior and defence ministries.

The Saudi-brokered deal excluded the Iran-backed Houthis who are still controlling the capital Sanaa and other northern provinces of the war-torn country.

Source: NAM News Network

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