U.N. envoy to Yemen resigns after criticism of failed peacemaking

Jamal Benomar, the United Nations’ special adviser to Yemen, plans to step down from his job, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is considering appointing a Mauritanian diplomat to the post as the civil war escalates, a U.N. diplomatic source said Wednesday. Benomar, a veteran Moroccan diplomat, has recently irked Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations for his handling of the unsuccessful peace talks between the Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Western and Gulf Arab-backed Yemeni government, U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

A successor shall be named in due course. Until that time and beyond, the United Nations will continue to spare no efforts to relaunch the peace process in order to get the political transition back on track.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The Gulf countries, which have been involved in Saudi-led air strikes against Houthi positions in Yemen for three weeks, felt that Benomar was too accommodating to the Shiite Houthis, the Western diplomats said. It was not clear when the Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed could take over the assignment. The U.N. diplomatic source said the appointment had not been confirmed and could still be changed. Several diplomats said it had been known for months Benomar wanted to leave the Yemen post.