© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), speaks during a press conference in Kabul.
By Michelle Nichols NEW YORK (Reuters) – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres plans to appoint veteran diplomat Jan Kubis as his envoy to Libya nearly a year after the latest mediator resigned, according to a letter to the Security Council in Libya. the UN seen by Reuters on Thursday. If there are no objections from any of the 15 council members by Friday night, Kubis will succeed Ghassan Salame, who resigned in March last year due to stress. Salame’s deputy, Stephanie Williams (NYSE :), has been interim dispatched from Libya. Kubis, a former Slovak foreign minister, is currently the UN special coordinator for Lebanon. He has also served as a UN special envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Kubis’ planned appointment comes after the Security Council approved a plan by Guterres in December to appoint Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov to the Libyan post. But a week later, Mladenov said he could not take office for “personal and family reasons.” That followed months of disagreement in the Security Council over a push by the United States to split the role for one person to lead the UN political mission and a special envoy to focus on mediation. The council finally accepted that proposal in September. The proposed appointment of Mladenov, who was then the UN envoy for the Middle East, was delayed, diplomats said, because some council members wanted Guterres to name who would succeed Mladenov as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. In December, the council approved Norwegian Tor Wennesland to replace Mladenov. Libya fell into chaos after the overthrow of NATO-backed leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In October, the two main sides in the country’s war: the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army based in the East (LNA)) – agreed to a ceasefire. Haftar is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the government is backed by Turkey.