UN Security Council appoints current Lebanon envoy Jan Kubis for Libya mediator role

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A new UN mediator for Libya was appointed by the United Nations Security Council late Friday after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres nominated his special coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.

Kubis has been the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon since Guterres appointed him in January 2019. The move was confirmed to Al Arabiya English by a senior UN official and a senior Arab diplomat.

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Formerly Slovakia’s foreign minister, Kubis is a veteran diplomat with years of experience in the region, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kubis’ nomination was put to a vote on Friday in New York and he is set to assume his new role on Feb. 1, according to UN sources.

A formal announcement is expected to be made within days, although no replacement has been appointed for Kubis in Lebanon yet.

It was unclear whether Russia would oppose his appointment. Late last year, Guterres was unable to push through his replacement for Ghassan Salame, who stepped down as Libya envoy.

"Kubis' nomination was approved and there was no objection to his appointment," a senior Arab diplomat told Al Arabiya English.

Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov was Guterres’ choice, but Russia called for the UN chief to name a successor to Mladenov as UN mediator on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

On Friday, sources said Russia was contemplating raising the same issue and asking Guterres to name a replacement for Kubis for the Lebanon envoy before approving his move to Libya.

Libya descended into chaos after the NATO-backed overthrow of its former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In October, the two major sides in the country’s war - the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) - agreed a ceasefire.

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- with Reuters