The United Nations agreed Tuesday to extend the body’s mission in the war-torn country of Libya, while also calling on its Secretary-General António Guterres to appoint a special envoy who will be tasked with mediating peace between the two warring parties. The resolution was notably not passed unanimously in the UN Security Council, as is customary, but with the abstention of both Russia and China, who were apparently miffed at their amendments being voted down. The last diplomat to man the thankless positions of mediator and head of the UN mission in Libya, former Lebanese Minister Ghassan Salamé, resigned in March, citing stress and health concerns. The United States’ proposal to split the dual role of peace broker and mission chief into two was passed Tuesday, empowering Guterres with finding a proper candidate for both. Libya has been ravaged by civil war for nearly a decade, with the UN-backed, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord battling the eastern self-styled Libyan National Army led by renegade general Khalifa Haftar. Both sides are supported by foreign powers, with Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt backing the LNA and Turkey aiding GNA forces. Two weeks ago, the two rival governments commenced tentative peace talks, brokered by Morocco and Switzerland.
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