UN Security Council approves new envoys to Libya and Middle East peace process

Appointments end months of bickering among council members sparked by a US push to split the Libya role

The United Nations special envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem on June 25, 2020. - The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it could begin  the process to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the strategic Jordan Valley from July 1. The plan -- endorsed by Washington -- would see the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory, and without Palestinians' core demand of a capital in east Jerusalem. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The UN Security Council on Tuesday approved a proposal by Secretary General Antonio Guterres to appoint Bulgarian Nickolay Mladenov as the UN Libya special envoy, and Norwegian Tor Wennesland as the UN Middle East Peace envoy, diplomats said.

Mr Mladenov will replace Ghassan Salame, who stepped down as the UN Libya envoy in March because of stress, and Mr Wennesland succeeds Mr Mladenov, who has spent the past five years as the UN mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

The appointments end months of bickering among council members sparked by a US push to split the Libya role, with one person running the UN political mission and another focused on conflict mediation.

The Security Council agreed to that proposal in September, but Russia and China abstained.

Libya descended into chaos after the uprising in 2011 brought Nato intervention to bring down leader Muammar Qaddafi.

In October, the two major sides in the country's war – the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the opposing House of Representatives that back Khalifa Haftar'sLibyan National Army (LNA) – agreed to a ceasefire.

Norway's representative in the Palestinian Territories Tor Wennesland speaks during a meeting of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA in Amman on February 17, 2009. The meeting discussed the recent Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and UNRWA's financial situation. AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI (Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI / AFP)

"The members of the Security Council underlined the importance of a credible and effective Libyan-led ceasefire monitoring mechanism and looked forward to a comprehensive report by the secretary general on the proposals for effective ceasefire monitoring under the auspices of the United Nations," the 15-member body said on Tuesday.

The council also reiterated a call for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya.

Mr Wennesland is currently Norway's special envoy on the Middle East peace process. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.