U.N. chief Ban names Spanish diplomat as new Libya envoy

Fighters from the Benghazi Shura Council, which includes former rebels and militants from al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia, gesture on top of a tank next to the camp of the special forces in Benghazi July 30, 2014.

Fighters from the Benghazi Shura Council, which includes former rebels and militants from al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia, gesture on top of a tank next to the camp of the special forces in Benghazi July 30, 2014.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday named Spanish diplomat Bernardino Leon as the world body’s special envoy to Libya, which is experiencing the worst fighting between armed factions since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Leon will replace Tarek Mitri on Sept. 1 as head of the U.N. political mission in Libya, known as UNSMIL, Ban said in a statement.

“Mr. Leon brings to this position many years of political and diplomatic experience with his national government and with the European Union, including most recently as European Union Special Representative for Libya and European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean,” Ban said.

For more than a month, two rival brigades have battled with rockets and artillery, turning southern Tripoli into a battlefield and forcing the United Nations and Western governments to close their embassies and evacuate diplomats.

A United Nations delegation is seeking a ceasefire between the rival Zintan and Misrata forces.

 
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