The former head of Algerian diplomacy Sabri Boukadoum will not be the next special envoy and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (Manul). The name of the Algerian diplomat was rejected after the refusal of the United Arab Emirates to validate his candidacy, presented by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations. However, things had initially gone rather well for Sabri Boukadoum.
To fill this position left vacant by Jan Kubis, who resigned in November, Guterres proposed the name of the former Algerian minister after having had the agreement of the latter, as well as that of the Algerian authorities, including the one of his longtime friend Ramtane Lamamra, current Minister of Foreign Affairs.
With the support of the Algerian side, Antonio Guterres therefore submitted the Algerian’s candidacy to the fifteen members of the UN Security Council. His proposal was refused by the United Arab Emirates, a non-permanent member of the Council which represents the Arab world.
“Only the United Arab Emirates refused,” a diplomat who requested anonymity told AFP. Asked about the reasons for the Emirati refusal, as well as the name of the next special envoy to Libya, the spokesman for the Secretary General of the UN, Stéphane Dujarric, did not wish to speak.
Ten things to know about Sabri Boukadoum, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs
According to several other diplomats interviewed by AFP, the Emirates explained that “Arab countries and Libyan parties had expressed their opposition” to the appointment of the former Algerian official. Again, the name of these Arab countries and the identity of the Libyan parties were not specified.
There is a “regional concern” with regard to the appointment of Sabri Boukadoum, indicated one of these diplomats, stressing that the choice of a national of a country bordering Libya poses a problem. His work would be “impossible”, added this source
In Algiers, the refusal of the Emiratis to endorse the candidacy of Sabri Boukadoum, Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2019 and 2021, was anything but a surprise. “The Emirates acted behind the scenes on behalf of the Americans,” says an Algerian diplomat. They acted in the same way to block the candidacy of Ramtane Lamamra when it had received the consent of the AU and thirteen members of the UN Security Council. »
Algeria: Ramtane Lamamra on the front line
The hostility of the United Arab Emirates to an Algerian candidacy and the obvious insistence of Algeria to run for this sensitive post are not new. In April 2020, Ramtane Lamamra withdrew his candidacy after the United States refused to validate his name. At the time, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which support Marshal Haftar against the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez al-Sarraj, had undertaken intense lobbying with the Americans to block the road to Ramtane Lamamra , who has led his country’s diplomacy since returning to business in July 2021.
An Algerian diplomatic source who did not wish to be identified suspects the Americans of having torpedoed the candidacy of Sabri Boukadoum in order to continue to influence the Libyan dossier. « Stephanie Williams, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and de facto head of the UN Mission in Libya [Manul] wants to keep the upper hand on Libyan affairs, says this source. The absence of a special envoy thus gives him all the powers to act in backstage. »