Dubai – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that obstructing the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as international envoy to Libya was a loss to the Libyan peace process.
Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Guterres stressed that Fayyad was the right person to be the world body’s envoy to Libya.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has expressed disappointment over Guterres’ choice, saying the United Nations has for too long been “unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel.”
“It is a loss for the Libyan peace process and for the Libyan people that I am not able to appoint him,” Guterres said at the summit.
“I do not think there is any valid reason to avoid someone who is very competent to do a job that is extremely important,” he said, adding that finding a solution to the Libyan conflict was in “everybody’s interest.”
Guterres rejected claims that the U.N. was biased on Israeli-Palestinian issues and said the international body was committed to its own charter.
“The U.N. needs to be able to act with impartiality in all circumstances and cannot be biased in favor of anybody,” he stated.
Guterres, on a tour of the Middle East, stressed the importance of the next round of Syrian peace talks, which will be held on February 20 in Geneva.
He welcomed Syria’s main opposition body for approving a delegation to take part in the talks.
The talks “are a first step for serious progress in finding a transition that allows for a political solution in which all Syrians feel represented,” he stated.
The High Negotiation Committee’s decision to send a delegation follows indirect talks last month in Kazakhstan where Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to monitor a fragile truce in Syria.