Russia rejects new Yemen peace envoy for U.N.

Four countries have approved the Mauritanian, Ismail Weld al-Sheikh, as the new U.N. Yemen envoy, but Russia insists on his predecessor

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Russia has objected to appointing the new U.N. envoy in Yemen, Mauritanian Ismail Weld al-Sheikh, and said it stands beside Jamal Benomar, who resigned on Wednesday after losing support from Gulf countries for his mission in the conflict-riven nation, Al Arabiya News Channel's correspondent in New York reported.

The correspondent said: “It is not absolute to say that the Mauritanian Ismail Wild al-Sheikh will be in place of Jamal Benomar, because Russia has objected.”

He said four countries so far had given their approval of al-Sheikh.

The U.N. said Benomar has resigned on Wednesday. The Moroccan diplomat had been U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy for Yemen since 2012.

Jamal Benomar, the U.N. special adviser on Yemen, leaves the legislative body in Sanaa. (File photo: Reuters)
Jamal Benomar, the U.N. special adviser on Yemen, leaves the legislative body in Sanaa. (File photo: Reuters)

Benomar has “expressed an interest in moving on to another assignment,” the U.N. statement said.

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

A U.N. 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 U.N. Ebola mission in Accra, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Benomar’s departure came after the U.N. 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 Shiite 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 U.N. statement said.

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

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of arming the o, 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.

(With AFP)

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