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UN envoy to Yemen resigns next month

Image of the UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh on 28 April 2015 [UNMEER/Facebook]
Former UN envoy to Yemen, Ould Cheikh on 28 April 2015 [UNMEER/Facebook]

The United Nations envoy to Yemen has resigned after three years attempting to mediate the civil war, Reuters reported today.

Since April 2015, Ould Cheikh Ahmed was tasked with mediating the conflict in Yemen, but was accused by the Houthi group of bias towards the Saudi-led coalition.

“The Special Envoy remains committed to pursue through diplomacy an end to the violence and a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people, until a successor is named,” UN spokesperson Stephen Dujarric said.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seeks to appoint a new envoy by the end of February.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s convoy was attacked last year in May as he travelled towards Houthi-controlled Sana’a. Houthi gunmen reportedly targeted the UN envoy’s car over his “bias”, and the lack of belief he could mediate the conflict as he was a “great hindrance”, Houthi spokesperson Muhammad Al-Bukhaithi told MEMO last year.

The civil war in Yemen erupted in late 2014 when the Houthis took over the capital Sana’a alongside former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s alliance of convenience. Late last year, Saleh was killed two days after he severed the alliance with the Houthis and sought negotiations with Saudi Arabia.

“In this moment, (Ould Cheikh Ahmed‘s) thoughts go first to the Yemeni people who are worn out by this conflict and are enduring one of the most devastating humanitarian crises in the world,” Dujarric said.

Yemen has seen nearly one million citizens afflicted with cholera, stuck in limbo without any adequate aid or food supplies to assist health conditions.

After heavy criticism of the Saudi-led blockade on Yemen’s ports late last year and continued monitoring of imports, Saudi Arabia announced yesterday that it will be providing an additional 1.5 billion humanitarian aid to support infrastructure development for Yemen’s ports.

Oman and Kuwait last year offered to mediate the conflict, providing a neutral platform for all parties to the conflict.

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