Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

UN Special Envoy Jan Kubis’ resignation was accepted a month before a scheduled presidential election in Libya.

United Nations Libyan mediator Jan Kubis is stepping down, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday, less than a year after taking office and a month before planned elections in the country.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accepted Kubis’ resignation “with regret”, spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday. When asked when Kubis would leave, Dujarric said: “Mr Kubis has made it clear that he is not slamming the door today.”

“He, more than anyone, does not want the mission to be destabilized in any way, shape or form,” he said.

“The secretary-general is working on a suitable replacement. We are fully aware of the election calendar and are working as fast as possible to ensure continuity of leadership, ”Dujarric said.

The UN informally nominates veteran British diplomat Nicholas Kay as a replacement, the Reuters news agency reported, citing diplomats. The 15-member UN Security Council, which operates by consensus, must approve a new appointment.

Kubis is a former Slovak foreign minister who also served as the UN’s special coordinator for Lebanon and the UN’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq. The Security Council approved his appointment as Libyan mediator in January, succeeding Ghassan Salame, who resigned in March 2020 due to stress.

It was not immediately clear why Kubis was retiring. Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor, James Bays, reporting from the UN building in New York, said UN officials and Security Council diplomats were shocked that he was leaving at the moment.

“The fact that he is leaving a month before the election really raises a lot of questions. “Despite the fact that I have repeatedly pressured the UN to set out its reasons, we are not given any reasons at all,” Bays said.

“The only thing I have been told by some diplomats is that Kubis is not in perfect health and was lucky enough to do the job in Geneva, but may not be fit enough to do the job in Tripoli.”

Cubis is based in Geneva, and according to Bays, the UN was planning to find a new envoy to be based in Tripoli.

Libya has fallen into chaos following the NATO-backed overthrow of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In October last year, the two major sides in Libya’s war – the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and apostate commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern Libyan National Army – agreed to a ceasefire.

Parliamentary and presidential elections on December 24 were demanded by a UN political forum last year as part of a roadmap to end Libya’s civil war. Disputes over the planned vote, however, threaten to derail the peace process.

Nearly 100 candidates have registered to run in Libya’s presidential elections, including Haftar, the transition prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Within days, an initial list of candidates is expected to be announced. After that, the commission will open a two-phase appeal process that will take 12 days before the final list of candidates is published, the head of the High National Electoral Commission, Emad al-Sayeh, told reporters.

The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for December 24 and parliamentary elections have been moved to January or February. However, rules for the elections have not yet been agreed.

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