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Germany: US Should not Stand in Way of Guterres Naming Libya Envoy

Germany: US Should not Stand in Way of Guterres Naming Libya Envoy

Saturday, 1 August, 2020 - 04:15
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Reuters file photo
New York - Asharq Al-Awsat

The United States should not stop United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from naming a new UN Libya envoy to replace Ghassan Salame who quit nearly five months ago, Germany's UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said on Thursday.

Salame, who headed the UN political mission and was charged with trying to mediate peace, quit because of stress after his last effort at peacemaking in the war-torn, oil producing country failed.

The United States now wants to split the role to have one person run the UN mission - known as UNSMIL - and another person focus on mediating peace in Libya, diplomats said.

"There have been questions raised by our US partners with regard to the structure of UNSMIL. We believe that, yes, you can discuss that, but ... the US shouldn't stop the Secretary-General nominating a successor to Ghassan Salame," Heusgen told reporters.

The UN Security Council traditionally greenlights such appointments by consensus, but some of the 15 members are not in favor of the US proposal to split the role, Reuters quoted diplomats as saying.

Guterres has suggested former Ghana foreign minister and current UN envoy to the African Union, Hanna Tetteh, replace Salame and Washington has said it can support her nomination after Guterres appoints a special mediator, diplomats said.

The United States had proposed former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to be special envoy, but diplomats said she had withdrawn herself and Washington is now looking for a new candidate.

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