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US blocks top Palestinian politician from leading UN mission in Libya

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (file photo)

The United States has blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the UN mission in Libya, in a move intended to reassure the Tel Aviv regime of the new US administration’s support for Israel at the world body.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement late on Friday that US President Donald Trump’s administration “was disappointed” to learn that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had proposed Fayyad to the Security Council as the next UN special representative to the North African country.

“For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” Haley further said, adding that she could not support the appointment since the state of Palestine is not a full member of the world body.

Haley’s comments come as 137 of the 193 UN member states have already recognized the state of Palestine, which is also a non-member observer state at the UN. Washington has yet to recognize the state of Palestine.

Reiterating Washington’s support for Tel Aviv, she also said, “Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.”

The 64-year-old Palestinian politician served as prime minister from 2007 to 2013, and was the finance minister twice, from 2002 to 2005, and 2007 to 2012. Guterres had given the Security Council until late Friday to consider Fayyad as a replacement for Martin Kobler of Germany, who has served as the Libyan envoy since November 2015.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon praised the US decision and described it as “the beginning of new era where the US stands firmly behind Israel against any and all attempts to harm the Jewish state.”

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