ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By Janet Ekstract – UN Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame in a sudden move, resigned on Monday citing “health reasons,” as Salame stated on Twitter: “For over two years, I have tried to reunite Libyans under one flag, restrain foreign interference…but for health reasons I can no longer manage this degree of stress.” Diplomatic sources said that Salame informed the UN secretary-general about his resignation after posting on Twitter.
United Nations Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric announced in a press conference that the UN urgently seeks a new envoy to head up its mission in Libya while explaining there remain ongoing challenges in Libya due to a multitude of groups being involved in the conflict and reminded all parties to heed their responsibilities as outlined previously at the Berlin Conference. Dujarric reiterated that all parties must fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in Libya. Dujarric urged those involved in the Libya conflict not to use explosive weapons in populated areas.
The UN spokesperson lauded Salame’s efforts, commenting: “The secretary-general has always had full confidence in Salame’s work and the great efforts he has made to bring peace to Libya.” He added that: “[Guterres] will be discussing with Salame the way to ensure a smooth transition so as not to stop any momentum on the gains that have been made.”
France also praised Salame’s efforts in Libya and expressed “regrets” on hearing of his resignation. France praised the special envoy’s efforts to achieve peace in Libya
Salame had encouraged both sides in the Libya conflict to return to the negotiating table where a tenuous ceasefire was agreed to – only to be broken during ongoing negotiations in Geneva. The UN envoy announced his suprise resignation days after those negotiations. The special envoy to Libya who was appointed in July 2017, had most recently been mediating the three-track talks on economic, political and military areas. Salame’s goal was to end the violence by means of a political solution while urging all parties to respect the UN arms embargo.
In his resignation tweet, Salame stated that he tried to “unify the Libyans, curb foreign interference and protect the country’s integrity.” One of Salame’s major premises was that the negotiation process should be between Libyans. Dujarric lauded Salame’s efforts, commenting: “The secretary-general has always had full confidence in Salame’s work and the great efforts he has made to bring peace to Libya.” He added that: “[Guterres] will be discussing with Salame the way to ensure a smooth transition so as not to stop any momentum on the gains that have been made.”