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UN Representative Abdoulaye Bathily Steps Down Amidst Libyan Mediation Challenges

UN Representative Bathily says his attempts to address concerns were met with stubborn resistance and indifference to the Libyan people’s interests.

FILE – Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Libya Abdoulaye Bathily speaks during a meeting with Arab Foreign Ministers in the capital of Tripoli, Sunday Jan. 22, 2023. Bathily, lashed out at the country’s feuding parties and their foreign backers at a U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday, April 16, 2024, and then confirmed he had submitted his resignation. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad, File)

Abdoulaye Bathily, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), has tendered his resignation to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Bathily expressed his decision, citing significant challenges in his mediation efforts. He lamented that his attempts to foster dialogue and address concerns were met with “stubborn resistance, unreasonable expectations, and indifference to the interests of the Libyan people.”

Bathily, who took on his role in September 2022, highlighted the crucial need for Libyan leaders to reach a political settlement through negotiations and compromise. He stressed the importance of prioritising the aspirations of the 2.8 million registered Libyan voters over the narrow interests of a select few.

The resignation of Bathily raises concerns about the trajectory of UN mediation efforts in Libya and the ongoing quest for political stability in the conflict-ridden nation. With Bathily’s departure, questions arise regarding the continuity of UNSMIL’s leadership and the future direction of diplomatic initiatives aimed at resolving the crisis in Libya.

The timing of Bathily’s formal resignation remains unspecified, leaving uncertainties about the transition process and potential successors to lead UNSMIL.

Chioma Kalu

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