United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday said he was disappointed that the US opposed his appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as UN envoy to mediate in the conflict in Libya.

Fayyad is “the right person for the right job at the right moment”, Xinhua news agency quoted Guterres as saying at the fifth World Government Summit.

Last Saturday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blocked Fayyad’s appointment, saying Washington was “disappointed to see a letter indicating the intention to appoint the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister to lead the UN Mission in Libya”.

The US is a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council.

“For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” Haley said.

Fayyad, 64, was appointed to replace German diplomat Martin Kobler, who has been serving as the UN special envoy to Libya and the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya since November 2015.

Guterres said Fayyad was the “right person… recognised everywhere”.

“He has the competence. Objecting the envoy is a loss for Libya, the Libyan people,” the UN chief said, adding that containing the conflict in Libya is “in everybody’s interest.”

Guterres, who became UN Secretary General on January 1, arrived here on Monday after visiting Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the first two stops of his Middle East tour, which will also take him to Oman, Qatar and Egypt.

First Published | 13 February 2017 6:25 PM
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