Yemen crisis
UN peace envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar steps down amid worsening crisisKhaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters file photo

The United Nations' peace envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has stepped down from his current position seeking another role amid the worsening crisis in the country.

The veteran Moroccan diplomat's resignation has come after he lost favour with pro-Riyadh Gulf countries over his handling of the Yemen crisis. He has been a special envoy to Yemen since 2012.

A UN official spokesperson said a replacement for Benomar will be announced shortly. Reports suggest Mauritian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who is presently overseeing UN's Ebola mission in Ghana, could take the baton from Benomar.

"Mr Benomar has spent the past four years working closely with the Yemenis to realise their legitimate aspirations for democratic change fulfilled," said an official statement from the UN.

"The Secretary-General greatly appreciates the tireless efforts Mr Benomar has made over the years to promote consensus and trust on a peaceful way forward in Yemen."

Western diplomats who are familiar with the matter, anonymously told Reuters the Arab nations - which are currently participating in the Saudi-led military campaign against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen – have been increasingly frustrated over what is seen as Benomar's soft approach towards the Houthis.

The diplomats have, nevertheless, expressed strong support for Benomar's efforts to resolve the Yemen crisis over the last few weeks.

His departure has come shortly after the UN Security Council adopted a Jordan-sponsored resolution imposing an arms embargo and a travel ban on key Houthi figures.