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Bulgarian Diplomat Mladenov Unable To Take Up Role As UN Libya Envoy

Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov (file photo)
Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov (file photo)

Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov has told United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he will be unable to take up the role as UN Libya envoy in 2021 due to "personal and family reasons."

UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on December 22 that Mladenov told Guterres he will resign from the United Nations when his current role as UN Middle East envoy comes to an end on December 31.

Mladenov was due to replace Ghassan Salame, who stepped down as the UN Libya envoy in March due to stress.

The UN Security Council last week had approved Guterres's proposal to appoint Mladenov as the new Libya mediator and for Norwegian diplomat Tor Wennesland to succeed Mladenov as Middle East envoy.

Mladenov has been the UN Middle East envoy since 2015 -- a post where he was charged with mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.

As a result of Mladenov's announcement, Dujarric says the UN's current acting Libya envoy, Stephanie Williams, will continue in the role.

Meanwhile, Turkey's parliament on December 22 authorized an 18-month extension of its troop deployment in Libya to support the UN-recognized government in Tripoli -- the so-called Government of National Accord.

Turkey's support for that government helped Tripoli stave off an offensive in April 2019 by eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar that was backed by Russia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

The warring sides reached a cease-fire agreement in October to formally end the fighting -- setting the stage for elections at the end of 2021.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Anadolu