İrem UZUN -TDO- The UN's envoy to war-plagued Libya, Ghassan Salame, announced his resignation on Monday citing health reasons, nearly three years after taking up the post.  "I tried to unite Libyans and restrain foreign interference... but for health reasons I can no longer continue with this level of stress and therefore I have asked the (UN) secretary-general to relieve me of my duties," Salame tweeted.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had received a message from Salame "expressing his intention to leave his post".  "The secretary general has always had full confidence in Mr. Salame's work and the great efforts he has made to bring peace to Libya... (and) will be discussing with Mr. Salame the way to ensure smooth transition so as not to lose any momentum on the gains that have been made," Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Salame was appointed in mid-2017 to replace German diplomat Martin Kobler, after an unusually long and contentious search for a candidate.  Widely respected by diplomats, Salame’s appointment gave fresh impetus to peace efforts, though early attempts to broker a political deal between rival factions soon stalled.  After a plan to hold elections at the end of 2018 was derailed by continuing violence and deadlock between competing rump parliaments, Salame focused the UN’s work on preparing for a national conference based on open meetings across Libya.  But 10 days before it was due to take place in April 2019, eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar launched an assault on Tripoli, upending the plans.

Haftar's offensive to seize Tripoli in April came days before a UN-organized national conference to draw up a roadmap to elections in Libya meant to turn the page on years of turmoil. The conference was brutally postponed by the fighting and Salame told: "We worked for a whole year to prepare something unprecedented in Libya, that is a national conference that would bring everyone together.  "Now all these efforts have gone up in smoke."

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