UN chief ‘deeply’ regrets veto of Palestinian ex-PM as Libya envoy
Dubai // UN chief Antonio Guterres on Monday said he “deeply regretted” opposition to former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as the organisation’s peace envoy to Libya, days after Washington vetoed the appointment.
“I do not see any reason for it,” Mr Guterres said at the annual World Government Summit hosted by Dubai.
Mr Guterres described Mr Fayyad, a former World Bank official with a track record of fighting corruption, as “the right person for the right job at the right moment”.
“It’s a loss for the Libyan peace process and the Libyan people,” he said, adding that the United Nations “needs to be able to act with impartiality”.
The UN leader on Wednesday had informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Mr Fayyad as a replacement for German Martin Kobler to Libya.
But US ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed the appointment, saying Washington did not support the message the move would send.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US veto of Mr Fayyad as counter to the “free gifts constantly given to the Palestinian side”.
Israeli media has meanwhile reported that the Jewish state could accept Mr Fayyad’s appointment if Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister, were offered the position of UN deputy secretary general.
The head of the United Nations requires the unanimous support of all 15 Security Council members for appointments of special representatives to conflict areas.
Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolution overthrew and killed Muammar Qaddafi.
Mr Guterres also addressed the upcoming UN-sponsored peace talks on Syria, scheduled for February 20 in Geneva.
“There is no solution for the Syrian people without a comprehensive solution in which all Syrians feel they are properly represented,” he said.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: February 13, 2017 04:00 AM