US blocks appointment of Palestinian to UN envoy, cites bias

Guterres selected Fayyad to take over as Libya envoy from Martin Kobler, a German diplomat who has served as the UN representative since November 2015.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
February 11, 2017 09:04
1 minute read.
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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump speaks to reporters while signing executive orders at the White House on Tuesday.. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

 
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UNITED NATIONS  - The United States blocked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' choice of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as the body's new representative to Libya on Friday.

"The United States was disappointed to see a letter indicating the intention to appoint the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister to lead the UN Mission in Libya," Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, said in her statement.

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"For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel," she said.

Haley added that the United States "does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nation."
US ambassador to UN Haley objects to ex Palestinian Authority PM Fayyad leading UN mission to Libya

The PLO released a statement condemning Haley for the move, calling it "blatant discrimination on the basis of national identity.”

"It defies logic that the appointment of the most qualified candidate is blocked because it is perceived as detrimental to Israel.  It constitutes a blanket license for the exclusion of Palestinians everywhere."

The statement also expressed hope that the US would "take back" the decision and instead work to "block petty acts of bigotry and vindictiveness and the further victimization of the Palestinian people for the mere fact of their existence.”

The US ambassador said Washington encouraged Israel and the Palestinians "to come together directly on a solution" to end their conflict.

Fayyad, a Texas-educated former International Monetary Fund official, was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013. He had earned praise in the international community for his efforts to crack down on corruption and to build effective Palestinian public institutions.

Guterres selected Fayyad to take over as Libya envoy from Martin Kobler, a German diplomat who has served as the UN representative since November 2015.

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