U.N. special adviser to Yemen Jamal Benomar plans to step down from his job and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is considering appointing a Mauritanian diplomat to the post as the civil war escalates, a U.N. 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-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Western and Gulf Arab-backed Yemeni government, Western 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 re-launch the peace process in order to get the political transition back on track.
U.N. spokesman for U.N. Chief 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 being too accommodating towards the Shi'ite Houthis, the Western diplomats said. It was not clear when Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed could take over the post. The U.N. diplomatic source said the appointment had not been confirmed yet and could still be changed. A Western diplomat said Ould Cheikh Ahmed was “in the mix” as a candidate, adding that a final decision had not been made. Several diplomats said it had been known for months Benomar wanted to leave the Yemen post.