New UN Envoy to Libya Apologies to UN Secretary General, will Resign


On Tuesday, the Bulgarian diplomat, Nikolay Mladenov, told the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, that he will not be able to take over the position of the UN envoy to Libya in 2021 for personal and family reasons.

Last week, the UN Security Council approved Guterres’ proposal to appoint Mladenov as envoy to Libya and the Norwegian diplomat Tor Wennesland to succeed Mladenov as Middle East envoy.

The Bulgarian diplomat has been the UN’s Middle East envoy since 2015 and was charged with mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mladenov told Guterres on Monday that when his current role finishes on 31 December, he will resign from the United Nations and “will not be able to take up the position as special envoy for Libya […] for personal and family reasons,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

The Acting UN envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, will continue her role, Dujarric said. Mladenov was due to replace Ghassan Salame, who stepped down as the UN Libya envoy in March due to health reasons.

Libya descended into chaos after the NATO-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In October, the two major sides in the country’s war – Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) – agreed to a ceasefire.