Less than a year after he took up the role as United Nations Libya mediator, Jan Kubis is stepping down, a U.N. spokesman said on Tuesday, a month before planned elections in the country.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accepted Kubis’ resignation “with regret,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The United Nations is informally suggesting veteran British diplomat Nicholas Kay as a replacement, said diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity. The 15-member U.N. Security Council, operating by consensus, must approve a new appointment.
“The Secretary-General is working on an appropriate replacement. We are fully aware of the electoral calendar and are working as quickly as possible to ensure continuity of leadership,” Dujarric said.
It was not immediately clear why Kubis, a former Slovak foreign minister who has also served as the U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon and the U.N. special envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq was stepping down.
Dujarric said the resignation “did not come as a complete surprise”, but did not give further details.
After the NATO-backed overthrow of longtime autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was thrown into war.
In October last year, the two major sides in Libya’s war agreed a ceasefire.
As part of a roadmap to end Libya’s civil war, parliamentary and presidential elections were demanded by a U.N. political forum last year. But disputes over the planned vote threaten to frustrate the peace process.
A first-round presidential vote is set for Dec. 24 and the parliamentary election has been delayed to January or February.