UN envoy to Libya resigns unexpectedly

Jan Kubis, the United Nations ambassador to Libya, abruptly resigned less than a year after assuming office. This was confirmed by diplomatic sources at the United Nations today. There is no official explanation for the abrupt and unexpected departure a month before the country’s scheduled presidential elections.

Kubis served as a special envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq and was a former Slovak foreign minister. In January, the Security Council named him a special envoy to Libya after Ghassan Salame, who resigned in March last year due to stress.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, had a tough time filling the job. Former Bulgarian Middle East ambassador Nikolai Mladenow unexpectedly withdrew from consideration only days before his planned interview.

On December 24, parliamentary and presidential elections will be held. They come as part of a proposal to end Libya’s civil conflict, which was urged by a UN political conference last year.

Disputes over the elections, on the other hand, threaten to derail the UN-backed peace process. There are a total of 98 presidential contenders.

Since the overthrow of tyrant Muammar Al-Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been in disarray. After eight months of revolt, Al-Gaddafi was deposed and assassinated in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Between 2015 and 2020, a power struggle erupted in Tripoli between the previous UN-recognized National Unity government and a power group commanded by Haftar. In October, both parties declared a truce after Haftar’s unsuccessful military effort to take the city in April 2019.

Following the truce, the UN began a political conversation, which resulted in the formation of a new unity government in March. The administration had to lead the nation through a period of transition until the elections in December.

Despite the unity government, Haftar, who is competing for president, retains de facto control of the eastern portion of Cyrenaica. He’s going up against Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was assassinated 10 years ago.

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