U.N. Security Council approves new U.N. Libya mediator

Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), speaks during a news conference in Kabul, March 27, 2013. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council approved on Friday the appointment of veteran diplomat Jan Kubis as the U.N. Libya envoy, diplomats said, nearly a year after the last mediator stepped down.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had proposed that Kubis succeed Ghassan Salame, who quit the role in March last year due to stress. Salame’s deputy Stephanie Williams has been acting Libya envoy.

Kubis, a former Slovakian foreign minister, is currently the U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon. He has also served as the U.N. special envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The appointment of Kubis comes after the Security Council approved in December a plan by Guterres’ to name Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov to the Libya role. But a week later Mladenov said he could not take up the position due to “personal and family reasons.”

Libya descended into chaos after the NATO-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In October, the two major sides in the country’s war - the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) - agreed a ceasefire.

Haftar is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the government is backed by Turkey.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio