UN mediator in Libya resigns one month before elections

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United Nations mediator in Libya Jan Kubis has resigned, diplomats said on Tuesday, just one month before the country’s scheduled elections.

The United Nations is unofficially suggesting veteran British diplomat Nicholas Kay as a replacement, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The 15 members of the UN Security Council, operating by consensus, must give the green light to a new appointment.

Kubis is a former Slovak Foreign Minister who has also served as the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon and United Nations Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Security Council approved his appointment as Libyan mediator in January, succeeding Ghassan Salamé, who resigned in March 2020 due to stress.

It was not immediately clear why Kubis was withdrawing.

Libya fell into chaos after NATO’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In October last year, the two main camps in the war in Libya – the government of national accord Internationally recognized (GNA) and putschist General Khalifa Haftar, east-based Libyan National Army – agreed to a ceasefire.

The December 24 parliamentary and presidential elections were called for by a UN political forum last year as part of a roadmap to end the civil war in Libya. However, disputes over the planned vote threaten to derail the UN-backed peace process.

A first round of the presidential ballot is scheduled for December 24 and legislative elections have been postponed to January or February. However, the rules for the elections have not yet been finalized.

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