By Gabriel Harrison.
Tunis, 22 August 2017:
UNSMIL has denied that its political affairs head has been moved to the Yemen because of Libyan criticism of his performance.
A spokesman said that Muain Shraim had been serving with UNSMIL for seven years and it had been time for a change. That his departure coincided with the arrival of the UN organisation’s new chief Ghassan Salamé was merely a coincidence.
House of Representatives (HoR) member Salah Suhbi used an op-ed in the Libya Herald to accuse Shraim of “working against the stability of Libya by constantly giving access to certain groups and individuals”.
This came after 69 Libyan civil society activists, jurists, members of the media and politicians wrote to the new UNSMIL envoy demanding the removal of Shraim and four other members including the security department official, Salim Ra’ad, director of the women empowerment office Magda Senussi and head of the human rights office Claudio Cardoni.
The officials mentioned were accused of negatively affecting UNSMIL’s peace-making role. Indeed Suhbi predicted that Salamé would fail in his new role if he did not scrutinise the members of the team the heads. Subhi called for “fresh faces, a fresh approach and fresh start.”
He added: “Continuing to work as the UNSMIL mission has done previously under his predecessor, Martn Kobler, would be unacceptable to us…It is time to rethink and review the old approach which clearly did not succeed”.