Libya's Islamist government demands explanation from UN over envoy

Libya's Islamist government demands explanation from UN over envoy
Libya's Islamist-backed government has complained to the UN secretary-general that the hiring of Bernardino Leon as head of a UAE state-backed thinktank affects the UN envoy's credibility.
2 min read
06 November, 2015
Leon has been urging Libya's rival governments to back a national-unity government [Getty]
Libya's Islamist-backed government has demanded the UN's Ban Ki-moon gives an explanation after it emerged that the UN envoy to Libya would work for the UAE.

Islamist authorities in the UAE say Bernadino Leon's new post for heading a state-backed thinktank raise questions about his credibility, The Guardian reported today.

Libya's rival factions remain deadlocked over plans for a national unity government, with the Islamist-backed General National Congress - based in Tripoli and backed by Qatar and Turkey - versus the House of Representatives, the internationally recognised government, backed by the UAE and Egypt.

Leon has been urging Libya's two rival governments to back his plans for a national government, but the GNC says the news about his new position "threatens to destroy the political track during this sensitive time".

The Guardian has published emails showing that Leon was offered the position as director-general of the UAE's diplomatic academy in June and spent the summer negotiating the position.

He is due to start his new role in December.

The Spanish diplomat denies any conflict of interest saying he wanted to leave his role at the UN by 1 September. He said his emails have been misrepresented and offer a selective view of his position.

Libya's Islamist-backed government sent a letter to the UN secretary-general saying that Leon's hiring by the UAE "constitutes a disregard to the lives and sacrifices that the Libyan people have offered" since the uprising.

Ban's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, responded by saying that the envoy's work spoke for itself.