After unsuccessful efforts to end civil war in libya, UN envoy to crisis country quits. The united nations confirmed on monday in new york that ghassam salame had submitted a request to that effect.
Salame himself also wrote on twitter that he had asked for his dismissal: "I have tried for more than two years to bring libyans together, to contain foreign intervention and preserve the unity of the country (…) today i have to admit that my health does not allow this kind of stress any more."UN spokesman stephane dujarric said secretary-general antonio guterres would seek a "swift transition".
After the fall and death of the long-time ruler muammar al-gaddafi in 2011, a civil war broke out in libya involving numerous militias. The powerful general chalifa haftar fights the internationally recognized government of fajis al-sarraqh. His self-styled libyan national army (LNA) launched an offensive last year on the capital tripoli, where the saraj government is based. Haftar’s troops were able to advance to the gates of the city.
The resignation of diplomat salame, born in 1951, comes at a particularly critical time for the country and is another setback. The lebanese had taken over from german diplomat martin kobler in the summer of 2017. None of the mediators so far has succeeded in setting the north african civil war country on a course toward peace.
Salame also suffered repeated defeats. Last spring, for example, he planned a UN peace conference. But about a week earlier haftar ordered his offensive on tripoli. The peace conference never took place.
Instead, salame’s mission became increasingly difficult due to the growing interference of foreign powers. Hafar is supported, among others, by egypt, the united arab emirates (uae), saudi arabia, but also by russia. Sarradsch in turn receives help from turkey. The turkish president recep tayyip erdogan sent his own troops to the country at war with its citizens.
In recent weeks, diplomatic efforts to end the crisis have intensified. But even a conference with the international powers involved in berlin this january could not calm the situation. The arms embargo was lifted, but according to the UN, it is still being violated. UN secretary general antonio guterres explicitly named the UAE, agypt, russia and turkey and spoke of a scandal. EU announces monitoring mission to increase pressure on arms suppliers.
A ceasefire declared in the spring is very fragile. In addition, important participants, including representatives of the parliament in eastern libya, which is affiliated with haftar, did not attend the talks on a political solution to the conflict, which were pushed forward by salame and began last week in geneva.
For some time now, the federal government has been making increased efforts to mediate in the civil war. For germany, a solution to the conflict is of great importance, among other things, because the main refugee routes from africa to europe via the mediterranean passed through libya.