Report: US ambassador set to depart Libya post, leaving several projects unfinished

The US ambassador to Libya Richard Norland is preparing to leave this post, to which he was appointed in April 2019 by former US president Donald Trump, according to Africa Intelligence, whose sources added that Norland will return to Washington, where he will continue to perform his duties as “special envoy” for Libya, a post which was entrusted to him in May 2021 by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“In Tunis – where the American embassy has been situated since a 2014 relocation for security reasons – Norland will be replaced until the end of the year by his current deputy, Leslie Ordeman, who will act as interim ambassador until a new head of mission is appointed.” Africa Intelligence said.

It added that Norland  will leave several projects where Washington was taking the lead unfinished, such as the setting up of the “Libya Special Committee for Oversight” to monitor the transfer of oil and gas revenues.

Norland’s departure should swiftly follow that of Stephanie Williams, who is currently special adviser to the United Nations secretary-general, the website said, saying her departure had been scheduled for 30 June, but was delayed while the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres decided on a new special envoy after his proposal to appoint the former head of Algerian diplomacy, Sabri Boukadoum, to the post was rejected at the instigation of the United Arab Emirates.

“Although she is herself a detached member of the US diplomatic corps and former special envoy to Libya, Williams has not always seen eye to eye with Norland, particularly on the issue of how to deal with Fathi Bashagha’s March appointment as replacement for Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.” It added.

The website said the French embassy – which may reopen its doors in Tripoli as early as this month – is also set to be turned upside down with the departure, expected in August, of ambassador Béatrice Le Fraper du Hellen after four years in office.

“She will not be replaced by her number two Bruno Pereira da Silva, who has just joined the office of the new French foreign minister Catherine Colonna in Paris.” It added.

 The website said Le Fraper du Hellen was very involved in the formation of the pro-Bashagha alliance, which include Haftar as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aqila Salah, and Ahmed Meiteeq, adding that this alliance has faltered since Bashagha’s failed attempt to install himself in Tripoli in May.

Source: Africa Intelligence


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