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UN aid chief Griffiths to step down in June for health reasons

FILE PHOTO: Launch of the funding appeal to support conflict-torn Sudan in 2024 at the UN in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths, who recently pushed for more humanitarian access to Gaza, plans to step down at the end of June for health reasons, a U.N. spokesperson said on Monday.

Griffiths is a British diplomat who has headed the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) since 2021.

Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, did not disclose the nature of Griffiths' health concerns.

"He advocated tirelessly for life-saving aid to reach those most in need and for the resources needed to do so," Haq said in a statement.

"A skilled diplomat and mediator, he has played a key role in leading the humanitarian response of United Nations and partners and negotiating solutions to some of the most intractable crises."

In a post on X, Griffiths said he had informed Guterres of his intention to step down in June but did not provide a reason for his decision.

"To everyone at @UNOCHA, it's been the privilege of my life. I am deeply in your debt," he wrote.

"To all partners and supporters, thank you for championing the cause of people in crises."

Griffiths had previously served as the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen, and as an adviser to all three of the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoys for Syria, among other roles.

(Reporting by Emma Farge, Michelle Nichols and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Nia Williams)