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UN Yemen envoy to step down next month

In May 2017, his convoy came under fire in Sana’a, which is controlled by Al Houthi militia

Gulf News

Dubai: The UN Yemen envoy Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad will step down as top negotiator for the war-stricken country next month, the international body announced on Monday.

A statement released by the United Nations did not name a successor for Shaikh Ahmad, who was appointed special envoy for Yemen in April 2015.

Shaikh Ahmad “does not intend to continue in his position beyond the end of his current contract ending in February 2018”, the statement said.

“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.”

In nearly three years as Yemen envoy, Shaikh Ahmad oversaw multiple rounds of UN-brokered negotiations between warring parties in Yemen — all of which failed to yield a detente.

In May 2017, his convoy came under fire in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, which is controlled by the country’s Iran-backed Al Houthi militia.

The Al Houthis accused Shaikh Ahmad, and the UN, of bias towards Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.

In March 2015, shortly before his, Saudi Arabia and its military allies intervened in the legitimate Yemeni government’s fight against the Al Houthis.