The United Nations extends its mission in Libya after a US-Russian dispute over its envoy

United Nations (Associated Press) – The United Nations Security Council voted on Monday to extend its political mission in Libya for three…

United Nations (AFP) – The United Nations Security Council voted on Monday to extend its political mission in Libya by only three months after a row between the West and Russia over the appointment of a new UN envoy for the North African country, which is trying to form a unified government 10 years after the war. disturbances.

Last week’s vote on a US- and British-backed draft resolution to extend the UN mission until September 15 was postponed at the last minute after Russia vetoed and circulated its own draft resolution calling on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a new president. Special Representative in a month.

The resolution, adopted unanimously on Monday, extends the mission until April 30 while keeping its old mandate, and made no reference to the Libyan government’s failure to hold elections scheduled for December 24 or current efforts to advance plans to appoint a new transitional government.

He also canceled Russia’s call for a one-month deadline for the UN Secretary-General to appoint a new representative, saying only that the council “recognizes the Secretary-General’s responsibility to appoint a special envoy.”

The UN High Representative for Libya became an issue after UN Special Representative Jan Kubis, who was based in Geneva instead of Tripoli and reportedly has close ties to Moscow, abruptly resigned in November. Guterres then appointed US diplomat Stephanie Williams, who oversaw the October 2020 ceasefire agreement in Libya, as his special advisor, which did not require Security Council approval.

Diplomats said the United States viewed Russia’s attempt to persuade the secretary-general to urgently appoint a new special representative as an attempt to get rid of Williams, whose work UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric praised last week.

Oil-rich Libya plunged into turmoil after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising and split into two rival governments – one in the east, backed by military commander Khalifa Haftar, and another backed by the United Nations in the capital, Tripoli, in the west. Each side is supported by a variety of militias and foreign powers.

In April 2019, Haftar and his forces, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive in an attempt to seize Tripoli. His campaign collapsed after Turkey and Qatar ramped up their military support for the Tripoli government with hundreds of Turkish soldiers and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

Mediated by Williams, an October 2020 ceasefire led to the formation of a transitional government and elections scheduled for December 24. But the vote faced severe challenges that eventually forced its postponement.

Britain’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, James Kariuki, called the decision adopted on Monday “disappointing”. He said that “Libya is going through a fragile juncture” and that “the role of the United Nations in supporting a comprehensive political process in Libya has become more important than ever before.”

Deputy US Ambassador Jeffrey DiLaurentis described this as “a sub-par result for the Libyan people and a bad reflection on the council.”

“We must carve a path forward in Libyan-owned and led elections” and we have called on council members and Libya’s neighbors “to engage constructively with Special Counsel Williams to support her efforts.”

Russian Deputy Ambassador Anna Evstinieva encouraged the divided Libyan parties to take advantage of the council’s unanimous support to overcome differences. With the help of the UN mission, she said, they should set deadlines and hold presidential and parliamentary elections so that Libya can “turn a new page in the country’s life”.

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