The UN envoy for Libya, Slovak Jan Kubis, resigned from his post a month before a crucial presidential election for that country, without giving Security Council members on Tuesday a clear official reason for the sudden departure.
“Mr Kubis handed over his resignation to the Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres), who accepted it with regret,” UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told a daily news briefing. stating that the UN leader was working to find a successor.
Asked about the reasons for this resignation in the middle of the ford, at the approach of a delicate presidential election scheduled for December 24 and supposed to turn the page of ten years of war in Libya, the spokesperson remained evasive.
“That’s a question you should ask him,” he said.
“Mr. Kubis made it clear that he was not slamming the door today,” he said, indicating that the envoy would make his monthly briefing on the situation in Libya on Wednesday, as initially planned. The date of his actual departure has not been set, the spokesperson suggested.
In the morning, the 15 members of the Security Council were informed of his delivery of the letter of resignation. When questioned, the Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said he had no idea of the reason for his departure. “We are trying to have an explanation,” he told some media including AFP.
Former Slovakian Minister of Foreign Affairs and former UN envoy, particularly to Lebanon between 2019 and 2021, Jan Kubis, 69, took up his post for Libya last January.
Since a UN strategic study submitted this summer to the Security Council, calling for the transfer of the post of emissary from Geneva – where it had been installed in 2020 at the request of the United States of Donald Trump – to Tripoli in Libya, he was reluctant to continue his mission, according to several diplomats.
– Brain teaser –
In September, the renewal of the UN political mission in Libya (Manul), which should have been extended for a year almost automatically, had turned into a puzzle because of this issue.
“Jan Kubis did not want to leave the comfort of Switzerland for Libya,” a diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity. “We can understand it. He was a candidate on a job description including Geneva and we change his place of employment along the way,” added another diplomat.
Supporting him, Russia had repeatedly threatened to use its veto if a change was decided upon when the mission was renewed. After three weeks of twists and turns with the United Kingdom, drafter of the resolution on the extension of the mission and its boss, the Security Council had resolved to an extension ending on January 31.
At the time, the divisions of the Council had weakened the weight of the international community vis-à-vis the Libyan actors, and the now official departure of the UN envoy adds a new element of instability to an already precarious Libyan situation.
In 2020, Africa had in vain increased the pressure for the post of emissary to return to this continent. As a consolation prize, a Zimbabwean had been appointed coordinator of the UN mission, based in Tripoli. With the departure of Jan Kubis, African UN countries are expected to step up to get the job.
The resignation of the UN envoy for the Libyan dossier comes the day after the closing of the submission of candidatures for the Libyan presidential election.
A hundred personalities have submitted a dossier including Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the ex-dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a strong man from the east and part of southern Libya, the influential ex- Minister of the Interior Fathi Bachagha and the head of the interim government, Abdelhamid Dbeibah.