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Washington refuses to appoint Algerian Ramtane Lamamra as UN envoy to Libya

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (not seen) in Moscow, Russia on March 19, 2019 [Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency]
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (not seen) in Moscow, Russia on March 19, 2019 [Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency]

On Wednesday, AFP quoted diplomats stating that the United Nation (UN)’s Secretary-General António Guterres is searching for a new figure to take over as UN envoy to Libya, as the US refused to support the Algerian nomination of Ramtane Lamamra to succeed Lebanese Ghassan Salame, who resigned in March.

A month ago, the assumption by the former Algerian foreign minister (2013-2017) of the post of UN envoy to Libya, seemed almost inevitable after his candidacy was practically unanimous. However, the US has since posed many “questions” about him, at a time when “everyone” was satisfied with this choice, according to a diplomatic source.

According to another diplomatic source, an official in the UN informed the Security Council during a closed session on Wednesday on Libya, that Guterres had begun searching for another candidate.

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The source, who spoke to AFP under condition of anonymity, claimed that the secretary-general: “Is working hard to present a candidate.” It was not immediately possible to obtain a comment from the US Mission to the United Nations, on the reasons why it objected to the appointment of the 67-year-old veteran Algerian diplomat.

According to a third diplomatic source, the US objected to the appointment after pressures from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which support the retired Major General Khalifa Haftar and consider Lamamra very close to the national reconciliation government that opposes their ally.

However, a fourth diplomatic source believed that the reason behind the US objection to the Algerian diplomat is that Washington considered him very close to Moscow, and accused him of supporting Haftar with mercenaries – a charge that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

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