New UN envoys approved to mediate Libya

Security Council approves UN chief’s proposal to appoint Bulgarian Nickolay Mladenov as UN Libya special envoy and Norwegian Tor Wennesland as UN Middle East envoy.
NEW YORK – The UN Security Council on Tuesday approved a proposal by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint Bulgarian Nickolay Mladenov as the UN Libya special envoy and Norwegian Tor Wennesland as the UN Middle East envoy, diplomats said.

Mladenov will replace Ghassan Salame, who stepped down as the UN Libya envoy in March due to stress, and Wennesland succeeds Mladenov, who has spent the past five years as the UN mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

The appointments end months of bickering among council members sparked by a US push to split the Libya role, with one person running the UN political mission and another focused on conflict mediation. The Security Council agreed to that proposal in September, but Russia and China abstained.

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 – the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) – agreed a ceasefire.

“The members of the Security Council underlined the importance of a credible and effective Libyan-led Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism and looked forward to a comprehensive report by the Secretary-General on the proposals for effective ceasefire monitoring under the auspices of the United Nations,” the 15-member body said in a statement on Tuesday.

The council also reiterated a call for the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya.

Wennesland is currently Norway’s special envoy on the Middle East peace process. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

First published on Middle East Online

Turkey steps up military intervention in Libya

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has said sources revealed Turkey has stepped up its military involvement in Libya and will resume sending mercenaries to Libya.

According to sources, Ankara intends to send a new batch of Syrian fighters to Libya in the next few days, despite the ongoing negotiations for a political solution after the agreement on the ceasefire between Libyan parties.

The Observatory reported that the return of Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries has been suspended for over 20 days, since the latest batch arrived in Syria in mid-November.

SOHR reported that about 18,000 Syrian mercenaries arrived in Libya, including 350 children under the age of 18, of whom 10,750 returned to Syria after completing the duration of their contracts and receiving their salaries.

The number of extremists transported from Syria to Libya has reached 10,000, including 2,500 Tunisians, to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

The Observatory indicated that 496 Syrians have been killed in Libya.

First published on EgyptToday