UN names former Lebanese culture minister as new envoy to Libya after months-long search
The United Nations on Friday put forward former Lebanese culture minister Ghassan Salame for the role of UN envoy to Libya, after a contentious search which saw the US block a Palestinian candidate from the position.
The search for a successor to German diplomat Martin Kobler began in February when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the role.
But the US rejected his appointment due to his nationality, saying the UN had been "unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel."
At the time, Guterres described the US rejection as "a loss for the Libyan peace process and for the Libyan people."
"I deeply regret this opposition and I do not see any reason for it," he said.
Salame, a professor of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at Sciences-Po in Paris, was officially put forward on Friday by Guterres, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
The Security Council must agree by consensus on the appointment of new envoys, with diplomats saying objections to Salame are unlikely and the appointment could be approved on Tuesday.
After Fayyad's rejection by the US, Russia and other members of the 15-seat council rejected a British and a American candidate put forward for the role. As a result, Kobler’s posting was extended until the end of June.
A senior council diplomat told Reuters that over 20 people were approached and either "ruled themselves out" or were ruled out by Security Council members.
Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of the oil-rich country.