NEWYORK: The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a British-drafted resolution extending its political mission in Libya for just three months, followed a deadlock between Russia and the US with Moscow demanding that a special envoy to Libya be appointed by the secretary-general to replace current special adviser US Stephanie Williams, an Arabic-speaking diplomat with the title of “special adviser”.
According to diplomats, Russia is seeking to get rid of Williams as quickly as possible while the United States wants her to stay in her post. Since the sudden resignation of former envoy Jan Kubis in November, American Stephanie Williams has served as UN special adviser on Libya. It appears that the secretary-general wanted to appoint Williams, the former acting special representative and head of UNSMIL, as interim head of UNSMIL, but Russia opposed the move. Williams is currently in Tripoli leading UN mediation efforts.
The extremely short text, provides for a continuation of the mission until April 30. An earlier version had taken the mission until September 15. The text contains no mention of the Council’s hopes that presidential and legislative elections will be held soon in Libya. Initially scheduled for December 24, the presidential election was supposed to have put an end to more than 10 years of chaos and conflict, but it has been postponed indefinitely.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Anna Evstignyeva, said she hoped the appointment of a new emissary to head the UN Libya mission “will make it possible to fully relaunch” the project.
By contrast, her US counterpart Jeffrey DeLaurentis said the United States called on all Council members and the Libyans themselves to engage “constructively” with Williams and to support her efforts.
“The sustained support and leadership from the UN and from this council is essential to instill confidence in the Libyan political process and to help Libyan stakeholders forge agreement on the way forward and on the holding of elections as soon as possible.”