UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that the US decision to block a former Palestinian prime minister from leading the UN political mission in Libya was “a serious mistake”. Washington blocked the proposed appointment of Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister from 2007 to 2013, a week ago. It said it was acting to support its ally, Israel. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Guterres said: “I believe that it’s essential for everybody to understand that people serving the UN are serving in their personal capacities. They don’t represent a country or a government”. Guterres said that Fayyad “was the right person in the right place at the right time” Palestinians condemned the decision. US ambassador Nikki Haley announced she was blocking the appointment because “for too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel”. Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi dismissed the “flimsy excuse” for a move she described as “unconscionable”. “Blocking the appointment of Dr Salam Fayyad is a case of blatant discrimination on the basis of national identity”, she said. Fayyad had been tapped to replace Martin Kobler of Germany, who has been the Libya envoy since November 2015.
In the presence of professionals, scholars and activists, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi yesterday spoke at a conference sponsored by the Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine which was held at the Oslo and Akershus University College in Oslo, Norway. She called for immediate international intervention to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people, their land and resources and the urgent need for governments worldwide to recognize Palestine in the immediate future.