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UN peace envoy to Yemen resigns

AFP , Thursday 16 Apr 2015
Jamal Benomar
File Photo: Assistant UN Secretary-General, Special Adviser to Secretary-General on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, speaks to a reporter during an interview with The Associated Press in Sanaa, Yemen, in this Nov. 18, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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The UN peace envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has resigned, the UN said Wednesday, after losing support from Gulf countries for his mission in the conflict-riven nation.

The Moroccan diplomat had been UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's special envoy for Yemen since 2012.

Benomar has "expressed an interest in moving on to another assignment," the UN statement said.

"A successor shall be named in due course," it added.

A UN official had earlier confirmed to AFP that Benomar had quit his post.

Among the candidates who may take his place is Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who currently heads the UN Ebola mission in Accra, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Benomar's departure came after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for the swift resumption of peace talks and an end to violence in Yemen.

Fighting has escalated in the poor Arab country after a Saudi-led coalition launched an air war on March 26 to stop the advance by the Shia Houthis.

Gulf countries accuse Benomar of having been duped by the Houthis who held peace talks while the group pressed their offensive for more territory.

Ban "greatly appreciates the tireless efforts Mr. Benomar has made over the years to promote consensus and trust on a peaceful way forward in Yemen," the UN statement said.

Yemen's UN-recognized President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia when the Houthis advanced on Aden, his stronghold in the south, weeks after they seized Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of arming the Houthis, a claim Tehran has rejected.

The resolution adopted on Tuesday calls on the Houthis to withdraw from Sanaa and all other areas they have seized.

More than 700 people have died in the recent upsurge of fighting and more than 2,700 have been wounded.

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