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UN to offer Livni senior post in exchange for US approving Fayyad appointment

Feb. 12, 2017 10:28 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2017 12:05 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered Israeli politician Tzipi Livni a senior position in the international body over the weekend, Israeli media reported, in a move seen as a way to obtain US approval for the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head a UN mission.

Livni, a leader of the Zionist Union party, was offered a position as one of Guterres’ under-secretary-generals, pending approval by the UN Security Council, Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported.

However, Livni’s office has denied that any “official offer” had been received.

The move comes two days after US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the US was “disappointed” by the selection of Fayyad to head the UN mission to Libya, claiming that the move was proof of the UN’s bias against US ally Israel, and indicating that the US could use its veto against Fayyad's nomination.

The United Nations Security Council released a statement on their website on Saturday defending the proposal to appoint Fayyad, saying it was “solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position.”

“United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country,” the statement explained.

The UNSC statement also noted that “no Israeli and no Palestinian have served in a post of high responsibility at the United Nations. This is a situation that the Secretary-General feels should be corrected, always based on personal merit and competencies of potential candidates for specific posts.”

According to Israeli news outlet Ynet, however, it remained unclear whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would allow the appointment of Livni, one of his political rivals.

Critics have also pointed out that Livni stands accused of involvement in war crimes during Israel’s deadly assault on the besieged Gaza Strip in late 2008 and early 2009, with legal cases pending against her in United Kingdom and Belgium.
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