Ebola chief named as UN Yemen envoy replacement

Diplomatic sources say the Mauritanian has been designated to replace Benomar, who resigned after four years of efforts at a peaceful political transition fell apart amid the Houthi uprising and Saudi-led air strikes.

Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed has been named as the United Nations envoy for Yemen replacement following the resignation of Jamal Benomar yesterday, Al Jazeera reports.

Diplomatic sources say the Mauritanian has been designated to replace Benomar, who resigned after four years of efforts at a peaceful political transition fell apart amid the Houthi uprising and Saudi-led air strikes.

Ahmed is the current head of the UN's Ebola emergency response mission in West Africa. His appointment still has to be endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Ahmed's predecessor, Benomar announced his resignation on his Facebook page yesterday following a UN statement which said he had "expressed an interest in moving on to another assignment."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hadsaid in the statement that he "appreciates the tireless efforts Mr Benomar has made over the years to promote consensus and trust on a peaceful way forward in Yemen".

The Moroccan had been the key international figure working to bring the feuding parties together, even after diplomats fled embassies and the UN staff pulled out. He however came under criticism from some in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, as his recent efforts to broker peace showed little success.

Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have been locked in clashes in the last few months.

Following a plea from President Hadi to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has conducted air strikes which has killed 700 people, injured 2,760 and displaced more than 121,000 people since it began.

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