U.N. chief affirms full support for Yemen peace envoy


 Reuters International

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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RIYADH (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday the U.N. envoy to Yemen had his full support, days after Yemen's Houthi group asked him not to renew the diplomat's term due to what it said was bias against the Iranian-aligned movement.

In a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on a visit to Riyadh, Guterres appealed to the combatants in Yemen's almost two-year-old war not to exploit the delivery of humanitarian aid, adding any such action was to be condemned.

Houthi leaders controlling Yemen's capital called on the world body on Friday not renew the term of U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, saying he had shown "lack of neutrality" and sympathy for a Saudi-led coalition that is fighting to reinstate Yemen's internationally-recognised government.

Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has served as U.N. Yemen envoy since April 2015, has brokered several ceasefires in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people. The truces have tended to founder within days.

Jubeir described the Saudi-American relationship as excellent.

"We see eye to eye when it comes to the situation in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Libya. We see eye to eye when it comes to the danger of Iranian interference in the affairs of other countries," he said.

Jubeir was speaking two days after CIA chief Mike Pompeo make the first visit to Riyadh by a Trump administration cabinet member to award Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef the George Tenet medal, an award for counter-terrorism work named after a former CIA chief, Saudi media reported.

(Reporting by Katie Paul, Editing by William Maclean)

Reuters

 Reuters International