African Union attempted to replace UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, but failed

The three African nations drafted a proposed Security Council statement that wasn't issued.

UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame. [UNSMIL]
African members of the Security Council tried unsuccessfully Wednesday to appoint a joint African Union – United Nations envoy for conflict-torn Libya, in an apparent attempt to replace current U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame, according to the Associated Press.

South Africa, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea were following up on decisions by the AU High Level Committee on Libya on July 8 and the AU Peace and Security Council on Sept. 27 in New York calling for a joint envoy.

Diplomats said the Africans raised the issue during closed consultations Wednesday, but there was no support in the 15-member council, with several members saying it wasn’t the time to “change horses in midstream.” AP reported.

Salame told the council last month he had launched “an intensive campaign” for an international conference to deliver a message that Haftar’s offensive against Tripoli must end.

A conference had been scheduled in Berlin in October to try to persuade countries to enforce an arms embargo and stop supplying weapons to the warring parties and move toward a political settlement and elections, but it has reportedly been postponed.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the council discussions were private, told AP that many Security Council members said they need to focus on implementing Salame’s plan and the Berlin conference.

According to the diplomats, members said the Security Council should work closely with the AU, and they would think about the joint envoy in the future.

The three African nations drafted a proposed Security Council statement that wasn’t issued.

According to a copy obtained by The Associated Press, the draft expresses “deep concern over the security situation in Libya and the risk of a dangerous military escalation.”

It also calls for compliance with the arms embargo and condemns “continued external interferences that are exacerbating the already volatile situation on the ground.”

The draft statement further says the Libya situation has “dangerous repercussions” for regional and African security and acknowledges the need for enhanced AU-U.N. collaboration “in the search for a lasting political solution to the crisis in Libya. Ap added.

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