UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has named deputy of his former envoy to Libya, Stephanie Turco Williams, as Acting Special Representative in Libya until appointment of a new successor to resigning Ghassan Salamé.
The US UN officer has been deputy of the Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) since 2018.
Before her appointment, she served as Chargée d’Affaires at the Embassy of the United States in Tripoli, a statement by Guterres office said.
Mrs. Williams is known for mediation skills and contact with tribes and speaks Arabic fluently. She has nearly a 25 year-experience across the Mena region, having worked for the US government and the UN in Libya, Iraq, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Salamé gave up his position early this month citing health reasons. The Lebanese veteran UN officer took up his job in 2017.
Before resigning, Salamé criticized, without naming any country, international interference into Libyan internal affairs.
The oil-rich country has been gripped by rivalries since the fall and death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-led uprising in 2011.
The country has been at the mercy of militia groups controlled by two rival administrations: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and its foe, east-based administration, backed by General khalifa Haftar.
Both administrations have their own international allies. The GNA is backed by Turkey, Qatar and Italy while the Beida-based government is supported by Egypt, UAE, France, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Stephanie Turco Williams faces a daunting task to broker a ceasefire between the two sides at war since April after Khalifa Haftar and his self-proclaimed Libyan national Army (LNA) launched a military offensive to unseat the GNA.
Several attempts by Salamé to snatch a ceasefire had failed despite pressure from world powers.
Williams’s appointment comes as reports indicate that UN Secretary has considered appointing former Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra as his new Libya envoy.