UN peace envoy to Yemen resigns after losing support from Gulf countries

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - The UN peace envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has resigned, a UN official said Wednesday, after losing support from Gulf countries for his mission in the conflict-riven nation.

The Moroccan diplomat had been UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's special envoy for Yemen since 2012.

Mr Benomar has "indicated his willingness to leave his post" as Yemen envoy, a UN official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Among the candidates who may take his place is Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who currently heads the UN Ebola mission in Accra, the official said.

Mr Benomar's departure came after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for the swift resumption of peace talks and an end to violence in Yemen.

Fighting has escalated in the poor Arab country after a Saudi-led coalition launched an air war on March 26 to stop the advance by the Shi'ite Houthis.

Gulf countries accuse Mr Benomar of having been duped by the Houthis who held peace talks while the group pressed their offensive for more territory.

Yemen's UN-recognised President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia when the Houthis advanced on Aden, his stronghold in the south, weeks after they seized Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of arming the Houthis, a claim Teheran has rejected.

The resolution adopted on Tuesday calls on the Houthis to withdraw from Sanaa and all other areas they have seized.

More than 700 people have died in the recent upsurge of fighting and more than 2,700 have been wounded.