After months of the post being vacant, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday appointed Senegalese diplomat Abdoulaye Batili as special envoy to Libya, where two rival governments are fighting for power.
The Senegalese former minister has served as UN representative in central Africa, special adviser to the secretary-general for Madagascar and deputy special representative of the UN mission in Mali.
His predecessor, Slovakian Jan Kubis, resigned unexpectedly last November. The position has remained vacant since then, as the Security Council, whose approval is required, had rejected several of Guterres’ proposals.
A few days ago diplomatic sources had statements that the members of the Security Council had agreed on Batili’s name, but the government in Tripoli had “reservations”.
The appointment of the new envoy is important as the UN seeks to organize a mediation process between the two rival governments in Libya to agree on a constitutional framework and hold elections, even as fresh clashes rocked Tripoli in late July.
Two rival governments are fighting for power in Libya, which has been plunged into chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011: one based in Tripoli and headed by Abdelhamid Dbeiba since early 2021. Another under Fathi Basaga was created in March with the support of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the strongman of eastern Libya.
Former Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva has been appointed as the new UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan.
Otunbayeva served as interim president of Kyrgyzstan in April 2010 following the bloody uprising that toppled President Kurmanpek Bakiyev. He handed over power the following year, after elections were held.
A former Member of Parliament and Minister of Foreign Affairs in her country, she also served as Deputy Head of the UN Special Mission to Georgia (2002-2004).
He succeeds Canadian Deborah Lyons as head of the UN special mission in Afghanistan, a country where women’s rights have been dramatically curtailed since the Taliban returned to power about a year ago.