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German diplomat to become UN envoy to Libya

02 October 2015, 16:15

New York - A top German diplomat has been named to become the United Nations' new special envoy for Libya, according to diplomats Thursday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Martin Kobler, who previously led the UN peace mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is to succeed Bernardino Leon of Spain, the diplomats said. There has been no official confirmation of the appointment from the United Nations.

The 62-year-old Kobler, who has held UN posts in Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of the few German diplomats who have experience in top positions within the UN.

His new position puts him in charge of UN efforts to bring peace to Libya, which remains in conflict four years after a revolt that overthrew long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. A chaotic civil war has seen the emergence of numerous militias that are still struggling for power in the oil-rich country.

The final text of a peace deal for Libya was reached two weeks ago. Negotiators have set the goal of forming a national unity government for Libya by the middle of October.

European countries and the United States have strongly backed Leon's efforts to broker the deal between Libya's internationally recognized government, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and an Islamist-leaning rival administration in the capital Tripoli.

Germany has been closely involved in negotiations and in June was successful in bringing representatives of the warring factions to talks in Berlin.

The European Union and US are concerned that the chaos has enabled the Islamic State extremist group to gain a foothold on the southern shore of the Mediterranean and added to the numbers of migrants fleeing to Europe by sea.

Draft versions of the agreement released by the UN Support Mission in Libya called for a permanent ceasefire and a national unity government.



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