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UN envoy for Libya resigns weeks before key vote

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)
This picture shows outgoing UN special envoy for Libya Jan Kubis (L) with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita during a visit by the Slovak to Morocco’s capital city, Rabat, on September 13, 2021. (By AFP)

The UN special envoy for Libya, Jan Kubis, has quit, with just one month left to the presidential election in the North African country.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accepted Kubis’ resignation “with regret,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

When asked by reporters when Kubis would end his role completely, Dujarric responded, “Mr Kubis has made it clear that he’s not slamming the door today.”

Dujarric said the UN was looking for an appropriate replacement. Veteran British diplomat Nicholas Kay has been cited by the media as a possible replacement.

“The secretary-general is working on an appropriate replacement. We are fully aware of the electoral calendar and are working as quickly as possible to ensure continuity of leadership,” Dujarric explained.

It is up to the 15-member UN Security Council, operating by consensus, to approve any replacement suggested by the UN secretary-general.

Meanwhile, no official reason was given for Kubis’ resignation, which comes one month before key presidential elections are to be held in Libya.

One diplomatic source told media that Kubis may “feel he doesn’t have enough support.”

Before the UN Security Council approved his appointment as Libya mediator in January, Kubis was a former Slovak foreign minister who had also served as the UN special coordinator for Lebanon as well as the UN special envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

His abrupt resignation comes a day after nominations closed in Libya’s sensitive election ahead.

The presidential election is scheduled for December 24.

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