February 16, 2018 / 5:36 PM / 3 months ago

U.N. chief appoints Britain's Martin Griffiths as Yemen envoy

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed former British diplomat Martin Griffiths as his new envoy charged with trying to broker peace in Yemen, the U.N. announced on Friday.

Guterres notified the U.N. Security Council of his intention to appoint Griffiths earlier this week and the 15-member council approved his choice on Thursday evening.

“Mr. Griffiths brings extensive experience in conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation and humanitarian affairs,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.  

Griffiths, currently executive director of the European Institute of Peace, replaces Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who the U.N. said would step down after three years in the job when his current contract finishes this month.

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, backing government forces fighting Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Yemen, which relies heavily on imports for food, is on the brink of famine and nearly 1 million people have been infected with cholera.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Tom Brown

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