Ghassan Salalme resigns as UN Libya envoy, citing the 'stress' of the job

Ghassan Salalme resigns as UN Libya envoy, citing the 'stress' of the job
Salame announced his sudden resignation in a post on Twitter, only days after a fragile ceasefire between the Libya's rival governments was agreed.
3 min read
03 March, 2020
Ghassan was appointed as the sixth UN envoy for Libya in July 2017 [Getty]

The UN envoy for Libya resigned from his post on Monday, citing "health reasons" after a challenging role trying to bring together the country's war parties ended with only a partial success. 

His sudden resignation comes amid continued escalation in the country, and only days after he announced the collapse of a fragile ceasefire between Libya's two rival governing factions.

"For over two years, I have tried to reunited Libyans under one flag, restrain foreign interference… but for health reasons I can no longer manage this degree of stress," Salame wrote on Twitter. 

According to diplomatic sources who spoke to The New Arab’s Arabic-languages sister site, Salame informed UN Security-General Antonio Gutierrez of his resignation shortly after publishing the post.  

Stefanie Dujarri, a UN spokesperson, confirmed the development, commending Salame's efforts during his tenure.

"The secretary-general has always had full confidence in Salame's work and the great efforts he has made to bring peace to Libya," Dujarric said.

"[Guterres] will be discussing with Salame the way to ensure a smooth transition so as not to lose any momentum on the gains that have been made."

Appointed as the sixth UN envoy for Libya in July 2017, Salame was involved in mediating tripartite talks between Libya's rival government on economic, political and military matters.

He was brought on as part of the effort to bring an end to a conflict whose its origins were rooted in aftermath of the 2011 uprising which toppled General Muammar Gaddafi, and continued as successive government failed to demobilise and reintegrate the fighters who ended his repressive rule.

Read more: Fighter loyal to warlord Haftar kill 16 Turkish soldiers 

In April 2019, Khalifa Haftar, a renegade military commander based out of eastern Libya, launched an assault on the capital, Tripoli, where the country's UN-recognised government was based.

According to the UN, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more displaced in the conflict, which has been further complicated by foreign involvement.

Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) receives support from Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Turkey passed a controversial law in January to deploy troops to assist forces defending the Tripoli-based administration against Haftar's siege.

The GNA, which is led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, is also backed by Qatar.

An international conference convened by Salame in Berlin shorty after the Turkish deployment aimed at cementing a shaky ceasefire brokered by Ankara and Moscow.

Dozens of countries who participated pledged to end the flow of weapons and armed personnel to the oil-rich country.

Yet the promise was broken almost as soon as the document was signed, with media reports the next day indicating that the UAE was flying in military equipment to Hafar’s forces in eastern Libya.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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