9 April 2020

UN Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar resigns amid crisis

KONFRONTASI-The United Nations' special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar has resigned, diplomatic sources have told Al Jazeera.

James Bays, Al Jazeera's diplomatic editor, said the envoy has told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it was time for him to end his role.

"Jamal Benomar has told the Secretary-General it is time for him to end his mission in Yemen but that he remains willing to help the UN in any capacity that is needed," our correspondent reported, citing diplomatic sources.

Benomar's resignation comes as the war in Yemen continues to intensify, with a Saudi-led coalition continuing its air campaign against Houthi rebels in the country.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing an arms embargo on the rebels and calling on them to withdraw from the areas they control. 

The rebels condemned the resolution, saying the decision supported "aggression".

Saleh seeks safe exit

Benomar's resignation also comes after  former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh sent messages to Arab Gulf states, asking for a safe exit for himself and his family, sources told Al Jazeera.

Saleh, who was forced to step down in 2012 after a wave of protests against his rule, is said to be backing Houthi rebels who have seized the capital Sanaa and are battling forces loyal to embattled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia.

The message for safe passage was communicated by leaders of the General Popular Congress, including former Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, sources told Al Jazeera. Saleh has been leader of the GPC.

Sources said the request was rejected by Saudi Arabia, which is a member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and is leading a coalition that has bombed Houthi positions since March 26.[mr/aje]

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