Security Council approves new UN envoys for Libya, Middle East

Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov to succeed Ghassan Salame while Tor Wennesland was appointed new Middle East envoy.

The council reiterated a call for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya [Johannes Eisele/AFP]

The United Nations Security Council has approved a proposal by Secretary General Antonio Guterres to appoint a new envoy to Libya, diplomats said.

Veteran Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov will take over from acting Special Representative Steffanie William, in charge of leading negotiations in the war-torn country since the resignation of former envoy Ghassan Salame in March.

The UN Security Council separately approved Norwegian Tor Wennesland as the UN Middle East envoy.

The appointments end months of bickering among council members sparked by a US push to split the Libya role, with one person running the UN political mission and another focused on conflict mediation. The Security Council agreed to that proposal in September, but Russia and China abstained.

Libya descended into chaos after the NATO-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In October, the two major sides in the country’s war – the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) – agreed a ceasefire.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the importance of a credible and effective Libyan-led Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism and looked forward to a comprehensive report by the Secretary-General on the proposals for effective ceasefire monitoring under the auspices of the United Nations,” the 15-member body said in a statement on Tuesday.

The council also reiterated a call for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya.

Wennesland is currently Norway’s special envoy on the Middle East peace process. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Source: News Agencies