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The UN is to choose a new envoy to Yemen after Jamal Benomar resigned amid criticism from Saudi Arabia. Civilian suffering is mounting in the country, with hundreds killed and tens of thousands fleeing for their lives.
Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat who was tasked to facilitate power transition in the country in 2011 after the Arab Spring uprising, “has expressed an interest in moving on to another assignment,” the UN announced on Wednesday. It said his successor would be named soon. Reuters cites an anonymous UN official as saying that Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed will replace Benomar.
The diplomat stepped down under pressure from some Middle East players, particularly Saudi Ararbia, who said his peacemaking effort was a failure. On March 26, the Saudis launched a bombing campaign against Yemeni Shia Houthi rebels, who allied with former Yemen president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and took control of large swathes of the country.