Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:16PM
Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, speaks at the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai on February 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, speaks at the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai on February 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says Washington made a “serious mistake” by blocking a former Palestinian prime minister from heading the global body’s political mission in Libya.

“I believe that it’s essential for everybody to understand that people serving the UN are serving in their personal capacities. They don’t represent a country or a government,” said Guterres, while addressing the Munich Security Conference held on Saturday.

Last week, the United States blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (seen below) to lead the UN mission in Libya in a move intended to reassure the Tel Aviv regime of the new US administration’s support for Israel.

Guterres added that Fayyad “was the right person in the right place at the right time.”

The 64-year-old Palestinian politician served as prime minister from 2007 to 2013, and was the finance minister twice, from 2002 to 2005, and 2007 to 2012. 

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On Monday, Guterres expressed his “deep” regret for the opposition mounted by the United States against his pick for the position in Libya.

Libya has been engulfed in political and security turmoil since the NATO military intervention, which followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.