UN chief names new head of Libya mission
Bernardino Leon speaks during a press conference - AFP/Gianluigi Guercia

UNITED NATIONS, United States: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday announced the appointment of Spanish diplomat Bernardino Leon to be his special envoy for Libya and lead the U.N. mission in the troubled country.

Leon, who served as the European Union’s special envoy for Libya, replaces Tarek Mitri of Lebanon who was head of the U.N. support mission for Libya (UNSMIL) since 2012.

“Mr. Leon brings to this position many years of political and diplomatic experience with his national government and with the European Union,” said Ban’s spokesman.

The 49-year-old diplomat also served as foreign policy adviser to Spain’s former Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

Libya has been torn by fighting between militias since mid-July, prompting members of parliament to appeal this week for foreign intervention to avert a further slide toward chaos.

Since the fall of long-time dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011, the interim authorities have failed to establish order and security in a country prone to anarchy and deadly violence.

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