UN Yemen envoy to step down, may be replaced by Mauritanian

April 16, 2015 01:06

UNITED NATIONS- UN special adviser to Yemen Jamal Benomar is planning on stepping down from his job and UN chief Ban Ki-moon is considering appointing a Mauritanian diplomat to the post as the civil war escalates, a UN diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

Benomar, a veteran Moroccan diplomat, had recently irked Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations for his handling of so far unsuccessful peace talks between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Western and Gulf Arab-backed Yemeni government, Western UN diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

The Gulf countries, which have been involved in Saudi-led air strikes against Houthi positions in Yemen for three weeks, felt that Benomar was being too accommodating towards the Shi'ite Houthis, the Western diplomats said.

Benomar did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

It was not clear when Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed would take over the post. The UN diplomatic source said the appointment had not been confirmed yet and could be still be changed.

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