The former UN envoy to Yemen says the air strikes on that country by Saudi Arabia and its allies have compromised peace talks among the various groups involved in the crisis.

Jamal Benamar

Jamal Benamar

Jamal Benamar, the former UN envoy, told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday April 26 that the Saudi air strikes have derailed the peace talks.

Benamar resigned from his position as UN envoy to Yemen in April, saying the Arab Cooperation Council did not support the talks as he had expected.

He says that at the end of March, the various political groups in Yemen were on the verge of reaching an agreement to share power, but then the Saudi air strikes began and stopped negotiations.

Benamar, who is of Moroccan origin, had been in Yemen since January trying to negotiate a peace deal among the various political groups.

Last week, Saudi Arabia announced that it was ending the air strikes and would try to find a diplomatic solution to the Yemeni crisis. However, the Saudi air strikes resumed the next day.

Yemeni President Mansour Hadi has proposed that peace talks be held in Riyadh, where he has taken refuge. But Benamar has said such a plan would not lead to any resolution and peace talks need to take place on neutral ground under UN supervision.

On April 25, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad of Mauritania became the new UN envoy to Yemen.