By Hana Saada

Ex- Algerian FM Ramtane Lamamra eyed as next UN Libya Envoy, replacing Salame

March 15, 2020 - 12:23

ALGERIA - Consultations have been taking place between United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and U.N. Security Council members about appointing former Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra as the body’s new Libya envoy, diplomats said on Wednesday.

Libya envoy Ghassan Salame quitted this month, citing health reasons. Meanwhile, US’ Stephanie Turco Williams will, temporarily, replace him as acting envoy until the appointment of a successor," pointed out Guterres in a statement Wednesday evening.

Williams held several positions, including Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs at the UN Mission in Libya since 2018 and has gained more than 24 years' experience in government and international affairs.

For their parts and following Guterres informal consultations with some council members about appointing Lamamra, diplomats said most council members supported the appointment. 

Lamamra, 67, served as Algeria’s foreign minister from 2013 to 2017 and in that capacity played a prominent role in regional mediation efforts in different regions, Mali.

Previously, Mr. Lamamra was elected and served as the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security from 2008 -2013. As Commissioner, he oversaw and led a period of increasing engagement by the African Union in mediation efforts. He has been a mediator in several African conflicts, notably in Liberia and helped forge a deepening partnership with the United Nations. Mr. Lamamra has, also, served as his country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to the United States.

As a reaction, and according to the Algerian press service, the current Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Bukhadoum has expressed hope that the UN would appoint an envoy to Libya as soon as possible to replace the outgoing envoy Ghasan Salama, stressing that the new envoy should be agreed by all parties to the conflict, and not be biased to one parties at the expense of others.

“Algeria is continuing its efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, saying positive developments will take place despite resignation of the UN Envoy,” added the same official.

Besides, the Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad reiterated, on Thursday in Oyo, the availability of Algeria to host the “inter-Libyan conference of reconciliation”, scheduled for next July.

“I have the honor to announce the availability of Algeria to host the inter-Libyan reconciliation conference planned for next July under the auspices of the AU in collaboration with the United Nations,” he declared at the opening of the 1st meeting of the AU contact group on Libya.

Mr. Djerad, who represents the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, at this meeting, affirmed that Algeria “undertakes to provide all the facilities and to meet all the conditions necessary for the success of this important event” aimed at putting an end to the crisis in this country.

He reiterated, on this occasion, Algeria’s determination to continue its immutable, unwavering and unconditional efforts to contribute to the settlement of the crisis in Libya, while respecting the sovereignty and independence of this neighboring country, preserving its territorial integrity and allowing the Libyans to appropriate the political process.

The Prime Minister stressed, once again, the “pivotal role” that the neighboring countries of Libya must play in this process aimed at a political settlement of the crisis which is shaking that country, in accordance with the resolutions of the conference of ministers of the neighboring countries of Libya, organized on January 23 in Algiers.

Mr. Djerad expressed, in this context, Algeria’s willingness to “accompany the efforts of the United Nations and contribute effectively to the success of the Libyan dialogue process “.

“Algeria is ready to cooperate with the new UN special envoy for Libya,” he added, expressing the wish to see the new UN envoy appointed soon so that he can maintain the dynamics of the process of settling the crisis in Libya and preserving the gains made so far. 
He, also, called on the international community to “involve the AU in the UN-sponsored Joint Military Commission talks” between the parties to the conflict.

“Our organization has extensive experience in mediation and conflict resolution and can contribute to the success of these talks,” he said.

Prime Minister has said, on that occasion, that Algeria “is following with great concern” the situation in Libya, marked by “repeated violations of the truce and the continued delivery of arms to the parties to the conflict “, in” flagrant violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya “.

He stressed, in this regard, that “Algeria insists on the responsibility of the UN Security Council to impose peace and security in Libya by putting an end to foreign interference and the delivery of weapons to the parties in the conflict”.

He considered, as such, that “the international community has the duty to create a favorable political climate capable of allowing the Libyan belligerent to come together in order to find national solutions to the crisis facing their country, so as to guarantee Libya’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and preserving the social fabric of the Libyan people. ”

For the Prime Minister, the 1st meeting of the AU contact group on Libya “confirms the determination of the AU to support the process of resolving the crisis in Libya and to fully assume its role in this matter which concerns an AU Member State “.

According to Mr. Djerad, this meeting “will bring a new and important stone to the building” and should also allow “the adoption of important decisions and an action plan for the organization of the inter-Libyan reconciliation conference which will bring together all the parties, all the factions and all the forces in Libya in order to contribute to the establishment of a government of national understanding capable of managing the transition period “.

The Prime Minister, also, welcomed the decisions of the last AU summit which “placed the Libyan dossier at the top of the continent’s priorities”.

Algeria, under the leadership of President Tebboune,  is continuing to play a leading role in the resolution of the crisis in Libya. The main principles of the Algerian initiative are known. The solution can only be political and peaceful and can only come from the Libyans themselves with international support and notably neighboring countries.

Algeria has, as part of its efforts aimed at reaching a solution to the Libyan crisis, relaunched several mechanisms given the effects of the Libyan conflict on this country. Algiers hosted, on January 13th, the foreign minister meeting of Libya’s neighboring countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Chad, Sudan and Niger) to establish coordination and promote dialogue between these countries and the international players so that to accompany the Libyans in the revitalization of the political settlement process of the crisis through an inclusive dialogue between the different Libyan parties.

In addition, Algeria offered to host a reconciliation forum on Libya during a meeting of African leaders discussing ways to end the long-drawn-out conflict, while slamming the “unscrupulous” foreign actors of continuing to meddle in Libya’s conflict, in violation of commitments made at the international summit held in Berlin this month. Algeria is still attached to the stability of this country, refusing to be kept out of the settlement process, while showing maximum neutrality.

Libya has been riddled with political and military divisions since NATO-backed forces toppled the oil-rich country’s former President, Col Muammar Gaddafi, in October 2011 amid uprisings shaking the Arab world.

The North African country is now beset by total chaos with two warring powers failing to build a post-Gaddafi Libya stall; one in the east to which general Khalifa Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based government, which enjoys U.N. recognition and is known as the Government of National Accord (GNA). It is under the leadership of Fayez Sarraj.

The oil-rich country, which was during Gaddafi era a torch of hope with one of the highest standards of living in Africa and free healthcare and free education, in addition to its strategic position as a key departure point for thousands of migrants traveling to Europe, has been a hotbed for conflicts with myriad armed militias holding sway.

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