United Nations chief defends choice of ex-Palestinian PM as Libya envoy

Palestine is a non-member observer state at the United Nations and its independence has been recognized by 137 of the 193 U.N. member nations.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Friday that her government "was disappointed" to learn UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres planned to appoint Salam Fayyad as the special representative. "Going forward, the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies".

Fayyad, 64, was prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013 and served as its finance minister twice.

Fayyad who began his teaching career at Yarmouk University in Jordan, worked at the World Bank in Washington from 1987-1995 and from 1996 to 2001 as the International Monetary Fund's representative to Palestine based in Jerusalem. "But if you know Fayyad - decent, smart, honest, ethical, hardworking - it's much more outrageous", Shapiro said.

In her Friday statement, Haley said the Trump administration "was disappointed" to see that Guterres had sought to appoint Fayyad, who served as the Palestinian Authority's prime minister from 2007-2013, as the next United Nations special representative to Libya.

According to the envoy, the United States encouraged the two parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to "come together directly" on the solution of the existing problem issues. She withdrew her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in 2012 after a controversy regarding her portrayal of the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. "The United States stands firmly and unapologetically beside Israel", Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said.

UN-based diplomats told Foreign Policy they understood the US mission and the State Department had already signed off on Fayyad.

The objection to the candidacy of Fayyad came days before the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump at the White House scheduled on February 15.

Israel's settlement building has been a key obstacle to the revival of stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. "And now he is even deemed as a problem under the Trump administration".

"As for the United Nations, things will be different after January 20th", he tweeted.

But Trump has recently signaled to Israel the United States did not view settlement expansion in land claimed by the Palestinians as helpful in achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, suggesting Washington may apply pressure to reign the Israelis in for at least some of the land grab. The Palestinians have been demanding that both the United Nations and the global community fully recognize their territories as an independent, sovereign state for decades.