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Ghassan Salameh Agrees to Be Nominated as UN Envoy to Libya | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ghassan Salameh, dean of The Paris School of International Affairs, attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Cairo – Lebanon’s former Culture Minister Ghassan Salameh said that he accepted to be appointed as the new UN envoy to Libya, succeeding the German diplomat Martin Kobler, whose term would expire end of this month.

A Security Council session on Tuesday is expected to witness Salameh’s appointment by unanimous vote. He will then become the second Arab and Lebanese diplomat to occupy this post, following former Minister Tarek Mitri.

In remarks to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Salameh said: “I have agreed that the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, submits my name for this mission; and now we shall wait and see.”

The Lebanese diplomat declined to talk about his new mission and the challenges that would face him, saying that in line with the United Nations’ work processes and the respect to the current envoy, he was required “to wait until my actual appointment day before I express my views.”

The search for a successor to Kobler, who has served as the UN representative in Libya since November 2015, began in February when Guterres proposed former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the job. However, the US rejected Fayyad because of his nationality.

Salameh, who has been chosen by Guterres on Friday, is a professor of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at Sciences-Po in Paris.

The Security Council must agree by consensus on the appointment of special envoys. Traditionally, the UN chief informally discusses candidates with the 15-member body to ensure agreement before officially proposing a name.

Diplomats quoted by Reuters said that objections were unlikely and the UN Security Council will give its green light for the appointment on Tuesday.