Algerian ex-diplomat eyed as next UN Libya envoy: sources

Ramtane Lamamra of Algeria has been a mediator in several African conflicts

Former Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra is being considered as UN envoy to Libya, diplomatic sources said Wednesday, after Ghassan Salame resigned from the post earlier this month.

When asked Wednesday if UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had put forward Lamamra, a diplomatic source said, "You're right".

Two other diplomats -- one African and one European -- likewise said Lamamra's name had been proposed. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Lamamra, 67, served as Algeria's foreign minister from 2013 to 2017 and as African Union commissioner for peace and security from 2008 to 2013. He has been a mediator in several African conflicts, notably in Liberia.

Stephanie Turco Williams of the United States will be acting envoy "until the appointment of a successor for Ghassan Salame," Guterres said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Williams has been Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs at the UN Mission in Libya since 2018 and has more than 24 years' experience in government and international affairs.

Salame announced his resignation on March 2, citing health reasons.

He had worked for months to bring about a ceasefire in Libya after eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive last April to seize the capital Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

A January ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia has repeatedly been violated.

Salame, a Lebanese appointed in 2017, struggled to organise elections and bring rival parties together for talks on ending the conflict.

Libya has been mired in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow and death of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. It has since become divided between the GNA and rival authorities based in the country's east.

Algeria has been seeking involvement in efforts to find a settlement to the conflict, which threatens regional stability.

During a January meeting of African leaders, Algeria offered to host a reconciliation forum on Libya, the African Union said at the time.

Algiers also hosted talks with Libya's neighbours earlier that month.

Algeria and Libya share a border of almost 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).

Ramtane Lamamra of Algeria has been a mediator in several African conflicts