Outgoing U.N. Libya envoy accused of conflict of interest
Libya’s unrecognised government Thursday accused U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon of a conflict of interest after he reportedly negotiated a high-paying job in Abu Dhabi while trying to defuse the Libyan crisis.
In a letter addressed to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, the president of the General National Congress (GNC), Nouri Abusahmain, voiced concern that Leon had taken up a post in Abu Dhabi, which openly backs a rival administration.
“The nomination of the principal mediator, who was entrusted with a mission of mediation and neutrality… proved that (he is) closely linked to a state that is a main actor in the Libyan conflict,” Abusahmain wrote.
“The timing of the announcement of his appointment when the Libyan people are being forced to accept and endorse the proposals of this mediator is an outrage to the memories of Libyan martyrs and their sacrifices.”
Libya has had two administrations since August 2014, when an Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the internationally recognised government to take refuge in Tobruk, in the far east of the country.
The oil-rich north African country descended into chaos after the fall of Moamer Kadhafi in its 2011 revolution.
Leon, who is Spanish, was appointed in 2014 and oversaw attempts at rapprochement between Libya’s rival factions.
He delivered his last report to the UN Security Council on Thursday before heading to Abu Dhabi to begin work as the first director of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, starting in December.
The United Arab Emirates backs the internationally recognised government in Libya, which is opposed to the GNC.
Abusahmain called on the UN to clarify the circumstances of Leon’s appointment in Abu Dhabi, warning that it “throws into doubt the credibility of Leon… as well as the mission in general, threatening to derail the political process”.