AU expresses concern as African candidates rejected for UNSMIL top post – commissioner

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

MOSCOW – The African Union is concerned that African candidates for the vacant position of head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) have been rejected, the bloc’s commissioner for peace and security, Smail Chergui, told Sputnik, adding that the mission should be led by an African citizen.

The position has been vacant since the resignation of Ghassan Salame in March, and Chergui said that the AU has been urging the UN to appoint a replacement. According to the AU commissioner, two African candidates who put themselves forward for the vacant position have had their applications rejected.

“At the AU, we are seriously concerned that two excellent African candidates could not secure consensus and, here, we could not agree more with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the time has come for an African to lead this UN mission,” the commissioner said.


Chergui recalled that multiple other regional organizations had called for the appointment of the new head of the mission and special representative of the UN secretary-general in the North African country.

“Since the resignation of the former special envoy, all the countries and regional organizations, members of the international follow-up committee on Libya have been urging the UNSC to appoint the new head of UNSMIL. Obviously, there is still no consensus on a candidate for this mission or UNSMIL coordinator,” Chergui said.

Other leading officials, including the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell, have also called on the United Nations to appoint a successor to Salame as peace talks between the Libyan conflicting sides intensify.

Since July, US diplomat Stephanie Williams has served as the acting special representative of the UN secretary-general to Libya.

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