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UN Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar resigns

United Nations' special adviser to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, is likely to be replaced, according to a diplomatic source. The veteran Moroccan diplomat has apparently irked Riyadh for his handling of the Yemen crisis.

The UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has resigned, officials said Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is considering replacing Benomar with a Mauritian diplomat, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, according to news agency Reuters. It is unclear when he would take over the post.

Ahmed served as UN's deputy special envoy for Libya from January last year. In December, he was made the chief of the United Nations Ebola response mission, UNMEER.

The Arab countries, which have been participating in Saudi-led airstrikes against

Houthis in Yemen

, are unhappy with Benomar's accommodating approach towards the Iran-backed Shiite rebels, Western UN diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Gulf Arab nations' frustration with Benomar has been growing for quite some time, the diplomats added.

Iraq slams Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the Yemen war could stoke a violent confrontation in the entire region, adding the US administration shared his concerns and "want to stop this conflict as soon as possible."

Al-Abadi, who

held talks with President Barack Obama in Washington

on Tuesday, however said it would not be easy to convince Saudi Arabia to halt the offensive.

"From what I understand from the (Obama) administration, the Saudis are not helpful on this. They don't want a cease-fire now," the Iraqi premier said Wednesday.

Riyadh's ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir, said he had no knowledge of Washington criticizing the

three-week long operation against the Houthis

.

"I don't know how the Iraqi prime minister got to that assessment. But I would think the Iraqis should really focus on the problems that are in their own country," Al-Jubeir said in a press conference.

The US has so far lent its complete support to Saudi Arabia's strikes in Yemen. National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said the US had been "providing support for coalition partners" in the Gulf.

shs/bw (Reuters, AFP)

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