An analysis published by “Foreign Policy” website said the United Nations Special Envoy to Libya, Jan Kubis, has resigned, leaving a diplomatic vacuum, just weeks before the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The website stated that Kubis’ resignation is a blow to the international community’s efforts to achieve stability in Libya and facilitate elections, in an attempt to end a decade of chaos and violence.
In March 2020, Ghassan Salame, a veteran United Nations problem solver, resigned from his position in Libya, citing frustration with the role that key member states, including Turkey and Russia, have played in fueling the conflict.
It is not yet clear why Kubis, who works from Geneva, decided to resign, and it is also not clear who will come after him, as the main UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said that Kubis had submitted his resignation and that the Secretary-General of the United Nations ” accepted with regret .” He added that the Secretary-General of the United Nations is working to find an alternative.
Dujarric said that Kubis will remain in his position for the time being until an alternative is found, and that he intends to brief the Security Council on Wednesday on developments in Libya. But he did not say whether Kubis would remain in office during the election or if a replacement would be found before then.
According to the website, citing senior, Kubis had disagreed with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over the United Nations approach to the elections. Kubis publicly endorsed the electoral law adopted by the Libyan House of Representatives, without obtaining the approval of the Libyan opposition, a move that some believe has greatly restricted the flexibility of the United Nations.
Experts say they expect the United Nations to choose its next envoy more carefully after Kubis’ sudden resignation, and that the international organization may be in the process of making some adjustments to its policy in Libya, with the possibility that Residen Zeninga, a Zimbabwean diplomat, who holds a high position in the United Nations Support Mission in Libya has replaced Kubis as an acting envoy, while some indications are that the veteran British diplomat, Nicholas Kay, is a suitable alternative.
“The international community is betting all it has on this election, but Kubis has now resigned,” said Thomas Hill, an expert on North Africa issues at the US Institute of Peace. It could be an indication that things are falling apart behind the scenes.”
Hill added that the sudden resignation of the UN envoy leaves a power vacuum that undermines the position of the international community in Libya, and this means that the UN seat at the table cannot speak officially, while foreign powers exercise the greatest influence on developments in Libya.