UN Secretary-General appoints Lebanese successor to UNSMIL’s Kobler

By Libya Herald reporters.

The new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé (Photo: SciencesPo)

The new UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé (Photo: Sciences Po)

Tunis, 18 May 2017:

UNSMIL’s a new chief has been confirmed.  Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has  announced the appointment of Lebanon’s Ghassan Salamé to succeed Martin Kobler who has  been in the job since November 2015.

As reported in the Libya Herald four days ago Salamé was seen as the front runner of four candidates.  A former Lebanese culture minister, he will be the second Lebanese to take on the role. His fellow countryman Tarek Mitri was the second UNSMIL head who held the job for less than two years, leaving in August 2014.

Salamé is understood to be the 29th person to be offered the UNSMIL leadership. The ever-ebullient and smiling Kobler began strongly, seeing through the completion of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). But he then ran into the brick wall of the House of Representatives (HoR) which under the LPA had the job of agreeing changes to the  Constitutional Declaration to allow the LPA  to go ahead.

Without the parliament’s imprimatur, the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the State Council had no legal standing. Kobler has spent the 18 months since the apparent triumph of the December 2015 Skirhat deal almost constantly on the move between Libyan political players. He has been looking in vain for amendments to the LPA that would be acceptable to all parties. This task now falls to Salamé who is expected to take up his role at the end of the month.

Guterres thanked Kobler for  what he described as his dedication and effective leadership of UNSMIL.

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