UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame steps down


Ghassan Salame at a press conference in Geneva. [Photo: Social Media]
The UN envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, announced his resignation on Monday citing health reasons, nearly three years after taking up the post.

“I tried to unite Libyans and restrain foreign interference… but for health reasons I can no longer continue with this level of stress and therefore I have asked the (UN) secretary-general to relieve me of my duties,” Salame tweeted.

He added that he wished Libyans “peace and stability”.

A source close to the UN envoy confirmed to AFP that the veteran Lebanese diplomat was stepping down.

His job had involved efforts to bring an end to years of turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi , which left Libya divided between rival governments and beset by violence.

Salame’s resignation comes after months of work to bring about a ceasefire since Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive in April to seize the capital Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

Salame, a former Lebanese culture minister, was appointed UN envoy in June 2017 and has struggled to bring the two sides together for talks to end Libya’s conflict.

Earlier this year the rivals agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia that went into effect on January 12, but there have been repeated violations.

Political talks were due to start in Geneva last week but both sides refused to attend.

The talks were to run in tandem with military and economic negotiations as part of a UN-sponsored dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict.

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