Nickolay Mladenov unable to take up role as UN Libya envoy

File photo. Head of the UN mission in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov (C) visits Iraqi refugees at Erbil city, northern Iraq, 14 June 2014. [Stringer/EPA/EFE]

Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov has told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres he will be unable to take up the role as United Nations Libya envoy next year due to “personal and family reasons,” a UN spokesman said on Tuesday (22 December).

Mladenov has been the UN Middle East envoy since 2015, charged with mediating between Israel and the Palestinians. The UN Security Council last week approved Guterres’s proposal to appoint Mladenov as Libya mediator and Norwegian Tor Wennesland to succeed Mladenov as Middle East envoy.

UN chief proposes new envoys to mediate Libya, Mideast

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has proposed new envoys to mediate conflicts in Libya and the Middle East, who could be given the greenlight by the UN Security Council on Tuesday (15 December) after months of delay, diplomats said.

Mladenov told Guterres on Monday that when his current role finishes on 31 December he will resign from the United Nations and “will not be able to take up the position as special envoy for Libya … for personal and family reasons,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams will continue in the role, Dujarric said. Mladenov was due to replace Ghassan Salame, who stepped down as the UN Libya envoy in March due to stress.

Libya descended into chaos after the NATO-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In October, the two major sides in the country’s war – the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) – agreed a ceasefire.

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