In the days leading up to Friday’s surprise decision by the Trump administration to block the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to a top U.N. job, senior U.S. officials in Washington and New York assured U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other diplomats that they would accept him for the job, according to diplomatic sources.
That made late Friday’s abrupt about face — with the Trump administration suddenly vetoing Fayyad’s appointment to lead the U.N. mission in Libya — all the more shocking for U.S. partners on the Security Council and some career U.S. diplomats, according to those diplomatic sources.
The U.S. action, the officials said, created an unnecessary public confrontation with the U.N. chief, who would not have selected the well-regarded former Palestinian leader without the consent of the United States and other key Security Council members. The diplomatic dustup exposed a degree of chaos in U.S. decision making, these diplomats say, that makes it hard to anticipate where U.S. policy is headed.
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