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The Hill: U.S. blocking of new UN envoy nomination threatens peace in Libya

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

WASHINGTON – American inaction is undermining the chances of peace in Libya, wrote James Durso in an article published today by the American newspaper The Hill, in which he states that the appointment of the Algerian diplomat Ramtane Lamamra as a new UN special envoy for Libya, after the resignation of Ghassan Salamé in early March, would still be pending because of Washington’s lack of approval.

“United Nations Secretary General António Guterres moved quickly to nominate a successor to  Ghassan Salamé, who served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations (UN) Support Mission in Libya from 2017 to 2020.”

“Unfortunately, the nomination is languishing after the expeditious assent of 14 of 15 members of the UN Security Council. Who’s the laggard? The U.S.A.”

“Recently Lamamra was the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security (2008- 2013) and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria (2013- 2017), and was  Deputy Prime Minister in the post-Bouteflika transitional government. He also served as ambassador to Ethiopia, Djibouti, and the United States. Before the appointment to Washington, D.C., he was Algeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He’s just the guy who understands the regional situation, the state of play at UN headquarters, and the thinking of the interested parties.”

“The U.S. needs to address the Lamamra nomination post haste. He’s the best man for the job, and — if the delay is due to foreign lobbying — the U.S. should either demand those interests provide a better nominee or get out of the way.”

“Though Libya is not a top concern for the U.S. administration, it is for friends of the U.S.”

“If the U.S. approves the Lamamra nomination, a renewed mediation process may stabilize Libya which will counter the Islamist terrorist threat in the area. A stable Libya will return to global oil and natural gas markets (it can easily ramp up to 2 million barrels of oil per day, with peace and proper repairs) bolstering Europe’s  security by reducing Russia’s energy leverage.”

“Though the Trump administration wants to reduce the American troop presence in Africa, an energized diplomatic process in Libya can be backstopped by the U.S. forces’ light footprint in Africa. French President Emmanuel Macron has asked the U.S. to not cut support for French forces in Africa. U.S. commanders are pushing back against planned cuts in U.S. forces in Africa and are making a case for more military, diplomatic, and economic involvement in the continent. U.S. support for France’s efforts elsewhere in Africa will give France — a significant U.S. ally — more influence in the peace process in Libya.”

“President Trump sees nothing but trouble in the Middle East, but the economic damage caused by the Wuhan coronavirus may interest him in Libya reconstruction contracts to boost the fortunes of U.S. construction firms and suppliers.”

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