The UN says its envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed will step down by the end of his term next month after he repeatedly failed in his attempts to broker a diplomatic solution to the conflict in the Arab state.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric made the announcement Monday, saying the world body’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres seeks to quickly appoint a new mediator.
“In this moment, his 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,” said Dujarric.
“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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Al Arabiya on Tuesday cited “sources in New York” as saying that the UN had appointed British Martin Griffiths as Cheikh Ahmed’s replacement.
Griffiths has served as the former deputy head of the UN Supervisory Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), in the position of assistant secretary-General, and the deputy to the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator in New York.
Cheikh Ahmed, a Mauritanian diplomat, was appointed to the position in April 2015, a month after Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 by launching an all-out military campaign against the Arab world’s most impoverished country in favor of its former Riyadh-friendly government.
The offensive, which has so far killed some 13,600 people, is meant to crush Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been running state affairs in Sana’a in the absence of an effective administration.
Cheikh Ahmed’s multiple attempts at enabling reconciliation between the opposing sides in Yemen have failed amid the Saudi-led coalition’s aerial and ground attacks as well as Riyadh’s support for the militants loyal to the former government operating on the ground against Houthi fighters and allied forces.
The last round of peace talks between Yemen’s conflicting sides collapsed in 2016.
Concomitant with Cheikh Ahmed’s tenure, the UN and leading human rights groups have repeatedly condemned the bloody Saudi-led campaign against Yemen, which has also the strong support of the US and the UK.