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Yemen rescinds expulsion of U.N. rights official

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had urged the government to reverse its decision

Published: Updated:

Yemen told the United Nations on Friday that it has rescinded its decision to expel the leading U.N. rights official in the country, diplomats said.

The Yemeni foreign ministry announced a day earlier that it had declared George Abu al-Zulof persona non grata, accusing him of lacking impartiality in his reporting on the human rights situation.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had urged the government to reverse its decision and allow Zulof to stay, warning that Yemen would be falling short of its obligations by "impeding" U.N. human rights work.

Diplomats said Yemen's foreign ministry had notified the United Nations that the decision had been reversed and was to send official confirmation.

Relations between the United Nations and the government of President Abedrabbu Mansour Hadi have become testy over the world body's increasingly vocal criticism of the war in Yemen.

U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was in Riyadh on Friday for talks on renewing a ceasefire in Yemen, which faces the threat of famine amid the dire humanitarian crisis.

Yemen descended into chaos when the coalition began airstrikes in March to push back Iran-backed Houthi militias who had seized Sanaa.

More than 5,800 people have been killed and 27,000 wounded since then, according to U.N. figures.

Yemen's government sat down with the rebels and their allies in Switzerland last month for six days of talks that ended with no major breakthrough.

The U.N. envoy has called for a new round of talks on January 14 but the sides have yet to confirm that they will attend.