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US blocks former Palestinian PM's appointment as UN envoy

Salam Fayyad's appointment was blocked in support of Israel [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2017

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The US on Friday blocked the appointment of a former Palestinian prime minister to be the new UN envoy to Libya, saying the move was in support of Israel.

The United States on Friday blocked the appointment of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad to be the new UN envoy to Libya, saying the move was in support of it’s ally Israel.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the administration of US President Donald Trump "was disappointed" to see that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had sent a letter to the Security Council indicating his intention to appoint Salam Fayyad, who served as the Palestinian Authority's prime minister from 2007-2013, as the next UN special representative to Libya.

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

UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private, said Fayyad is well-respected for his work in reforming the Palestinian Authority and spurring its economy and had the support of the 14 other Security Council members to succeed Martin Kobler in the Libya job.

It was the first major appointment by Guterres of a special envoy to a conflict area since he became UN chief on January 1.

Trump and Haley have criticised the United Nations for adopting a resolution in December that demanded an end to Israeli settlement building.

Haley has vowed to defend Israel's interests at the world body.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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