UN chief Ban Ki-moon calls for im­me­di­ate cease-fire in Ye­men


U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has called for an im­me­di­ate cease-fire in Ye­men and be­gun the hunt for a new peace en­voy to the war-torn coun­try, where al-Qaida is ex­pand­ing its ter­ri­tory.

Ban’s plea fol­lows more than three weeks of air strikes by a Saudiled coali­tion aimed at driv­ing back Iran-backed rebels whose sweep­ing ad­vance forced Pres­i­dent Abedrabbo Man­sour Hadi to flee to Riyadh.

Ye­men “is in flames,” Ban told the press in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day. “I am call­ing for an im­me­di­ate cease-fire in Ye­men by all par­ties.”

His re­marks fol­lowed the res­ig­na­tion of his en­voy to Ye­men, Ja­mal Beno­mar, a Moroc­can­born ca­reer diplo­mat who lost the con­fi­dence of Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies. They ac­cused him of be­ing duped by the rebels.

Saudi Ara­bia’s re­gional ri­val, Iran, re­newed its calls for dia­logue on Fri­day and said its for­eign min­is­ter had spo­ken to the U.N. chief overnight.

Ban said he was in the process of find­ing a new en­voy “who can be im­me­di­ately de­ployed” to seek a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider alAbadi, a Shi­ite who has of­fered a rare voice of op­po­si­tion to the cam- paign among Arab lead­ers, called Thurs­day for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to quickly end the con­flict.

“We are on the same boat in the re­gion. If any­body makes a hole in that boat, we all will sink,” he said, speak­ing at a Wash­ing­ton think­tank.

“In our own be­lief we think an end to this war of Ye­men must be very soon and the only way for­ward is a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion by Ye­me­nis them­selves.”

Ye­men is a front line in the U.S. war on al-Qaida, which has ex­ploited the grow­ing tur­moil to ex­pand its con­trol of ar­eas in the southeast of the deeply tribal Ara­bian Penin­sula coun­try.

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