Secret letter by Libyan PM to UNSG Guterres aimed to block Bathily’s nomination as UN envoy

The Libyan ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Taher El Sonni, sent a letter to the president of the UN Security Council on September 01 in which he expressed the Prime Minister’s upset about the appointment of the Senegalese diplomat Abdoulaye Bathily as new UN envoy to Libya, Africa Intelligence has reported.

“Upon instructions from my government. I am writing in response to the letter dated 31 August 2022, addressed to the president of the Security Council on your intention to appoint Mr Abdoulaye Bathily (Senegal) as special representative for Libya and head of UNSMIL The government of national unity is astounded by the said appointment, amidst the government’s clear reservations shared directly with the secretary-general.” El Sonni said in his letter to the Security Council.

El Sonni added in the letter that the Government Of National Unity hoped to have these disputes resolved accordingly and dealt with positively, as it was very critical for the success of the work of the secretary-general’s envoy.

“The Government Of National Unity is willing to engage positively in consultations with the United Nations and the Security Council on this matter.” El Sonni added.

The report says Libyan Prime Minister had instructed El Sonni to write the letter after learning of the imminent appointment the day before. The Tripoli government has already expressed its concerns about Bathily.

“During the UN Security Council session on Libya of 15 August, El Sonni had voiced these reservations about the UN Security General’s choice, adding that Libya deserved a better selected representative”.

His statements greatly annoyed Guterres’ staff and various Security Council members. In the end, Dbeibah’s qualms and El Sonni’s letter had little effect; Bathily took up his seat with the Security Council on 2 September. 

“The next day, the Libyan prime minister begrudgingly sent his congratulations to the Senegalese diplomat.” Africa Intelligence reported.


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