UN head dismayed at opposition to Palestinian nomination

UN head dismayed at opposition to Palestinian nomination
Antonio Guterres was disappointed by a US veto of his pick for UN envoy to Libya, as Israel cheered the block.
2 min read
13 February, 2017
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has lamented the US veto [Getty]
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday lamented the opposition to the nomination of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as the UN peace envoy to Libya, after the US vetoed the appointment. 

"I deeply regret this opposition and I do not see any reason for it," Guterres told the annual World Government Summit in by Dubai. "It's a loss for the Libyan peace process and the Libyan people," he added.

Guterres said Fayyad was "the right person for the right job at the right moment". 

Last week the UN chief informed the Security Council that Fayyad, a former World Bank employee with a reputation for tackling corruption, was his preferred candidate to replace Martin Kobler in Libya. But his nomination provoked unexpected controversy.

The US and Israel both spoke against Fayyad – first US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blocked the appointment, saying it would send the wrong message. Later, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu claimed the veto by the US was a counter balance to the "free gifts constantly given to the Palestinian side".

Amid the controversy, Israeli media has reported that Fayyad's appointment might be accepted – if former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni were offered the position of UN deputy secretary general. 

Guterres requires the unanimous support of all 15 Security Council members for appointments of special representatives to conflict areas.

Since Gaddafi’s ouster in 2011, Libya has been in turmoil. Several insurgency militias still seek power in the oil-rich North African country.