Ban welcomes release of two Saudi citizens held in Yemen

Pedestrians on a street in Sana’a, capital of Yemen. Photo: UNDP Yemen

15 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the release of two citizens of Saudi Arabia who had been held in Yemen since March 2015, greatly relieved that they were released in apparent good health.”

“The Secretary-General thanks his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, for his efforts to secure the safe release of these individuals,” said a statement issued by his Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, which noted that the two Saudi citizens departed the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on the morning of 14 January, accompanied by the Special Envoy.

Mr. Ban, according to the statement, expressed his gratitude to Ansar Allah for facilitating the release as an important confidence-building measure, which should help advance the peace process. He also expressed the sincere hope that this step will be followed quickly by additional releases of prisoners by all sides and the return to peaceful dialogue.

“The Secretary-General urges all Yemeni parties and the States in the region to commit to comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in order to enable the rapid resumption of peace talks facilitated by his Special Envoy,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported today that following statements last week that the High Commissioner’s Representative in Yemen was apparently no longer welcome in the country, the Government subsequently revised its position, and the Representative would now be continuing his work as before.

“OHCHR warmly welcomes the decision by the Government, as well as their commitment to continue to cooperate fully with the United Nations,” Spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters at the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva.


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