The U.N. Security Council has officially appointed former Slovak Foreign Minister Jan Kubis to lead the U.N. political mission in Libya, a post that has been vacant for nearly a year, diplomats said Friday night.
Kubis is currently the UN special coordinator for Lebanon. He has also served as the UN special envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed that Kubis should replace Ghassan Salame, who quit the role in March last year citing stress amid rising conflict between Libya’s rival sides over the capital.
Ever since the Arab spring movement and Nato bombing campaign that toppled Kaddafi in 2011, oil-rich Libya has been in extreme chaos.
Attempts to build a democratic state after Kaddafi turned into a new civil war between rival governments.
Since 2014, the fighting has mainly been between rival centres of political power in east and west Libya: the Tripoli administration, known as the Government of National Accord (GNA), and the Tobruk administration, which decamped to the eastern city after disputed elections.
While the GNA is officially recognized by the UN as Libya’s legitimate government, it holds almost no power on the ground, as some distrust its Islamist politics.
Since last year, the two sides have been holding UN led talks to name an interim government before elections later in 2021, but they have so far failed to agree on a voting mechanism.
However, the U.N. mission in Libya, known as UNSMIL, reported “significant progress” in talks currently underway in Geneva.