German diplomat takes over as U.N. envoy to Libya

Veteran diplomat Martin Kobler will take over from Bernardino Leon of Spain.

Veteran diplomat Martin Kobler will take over from Bernardino Leon of Spain.


Veteran German diplomat Martin Kobler will take over from Bernardino Leon of Spain as the top United Nations envoy to Libya on Tuesday, the U.N. press office said.

“The leadership transition comes at a critical time for Libya,” it said in a statement released on Monday.

“Mr. Kobler is committed to ensuring continuity of United Nations facilitation of the Libyan dialogue process, building on what Libyan parties have achieved to date,” the statement added.

Kobler, an experienced U.N. official who has held top posts in Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, replaces Leon at a difficult time for the U.N. mission. Leon long struggled to get Libya’s competing factions to agree to a unity but he did not succeed.

Libya has descended into factional fighting, leaving the country almost lawless nearly four years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. Two competing governments backed by militia brigades are scrambling for control of the oil-producing country and the chaos has created havens for Islamist militants.

The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Libya in 2011 when Qaddafi’s security forces cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.


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