On monday U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he believed former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad was the right person to be the world body’s envoy to Libya after the United States raised objections to the choice. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has expressed disappointment over Guterres’s choice, saying the United Nations had for too long been “unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel”. “It is a loss for the Libyan peace process and for the Libyan people that I am not able to appoint him” Guterres said at the World Government Summit in Dubai. “I do not think there is any valid reason to avoid someone who is very competent to do a job that is extremely important” he said, adding that ending the Libyan conflict was in “everybody’s interest.” It is unclear whether the U.S. objection has ended Fayyad’s candidacy. Guterres declined to answer questions when approached by Reuters immediately after his comments. Guterres dismissed the accusation that the United Nations is biased on Israeli-Palestinian issues and said the body’s only loyalty was to its charter.
The Trump administration in Washington has objected to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ choice of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyed as the new UN special envoy to Libya on grounds that he is Palestinian. “For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” complained Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the UN appointed by President Donald Trump. It is not clear if the objection will scupper Fayyad’s appointment. Fayyad would be Guterres’ personal representative but his appointment as Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) requires Security Council approval. The US could veto it. A spokesman for Guterres said today that choosing Fayyad was “solely based on Mr Fayyad’s recognised personal qualities and his competence for that position”.
The UN Special envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, is to be replaced by former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in a decision by the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In his final report to the Council yesterday, Kobler said: “The citizens of Libya deserve security and an end to the rampant crime and lawlessness.” While at times optimistic about Libya’s economic situation, he insisted corruption remained, health services were inadequate and poor financial management continued. The new special envoy, US-educated Salam Fayyad, was Palestinian finance minister from 2002 to 2005 and Palestinian prime minister from 2007 to 2013. His background is in finance, having previously worked for both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and is regarded as having been a successful finance minister. Seen as both a conciliator and a pragmatist, he will, however, have his work cut out for him in trying to implement a Libyan Political Agreement that is widely seen as broken and unimplementable.