UN's Ban says de Mistura is next Afghanistan envoy

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he intended to appoint Staffan de Mistura of Sweden as his next special envoy in Afghanistan.

UN's Ban says de Mistura is next Afghanistan envoy

 U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday he intended to appoint Staffan de Mistura of Sweden as his next special envoy in Afghanistan.

De Mistura will succeed Kai Eide of Norway and take up his appointment on March 1, Ban told reporters.

He currently is a senior official at the U.N. World Food Program in Rome and former U.N. special envoy to Iraq, Reuters said.

Mr de Mistura's career at the UN has spanned 30 years, but he became embroiled in controversy after appointing the son-in-law of Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary-General, as his chief of staff in Iraq in 2007. He will take over an operation battered by internal dissension over last year's Afghan presidential election.

He has shown that he can work closely with the American military after running UN operations in Iraq and Lebanon.

Ban's announcement came one day before a 60-nation conference he will attend in London, which will seek to set a framework for eventually handing security over to Afghan forces.

De Mistura is expected to play an important role supporting U.S. President Barack Obama's new policy in Afghanistan, which includes more U.S. and NATO troops to fight the Taliban insurgency and a "civilian surge".

On Tuesday, NATO named a senior British diplomat, Mark Sedwill, to be its civilian representative in Afghanistan. The European Union is also expected to appoint a new envoy.

De Mistura had been tipped for weeks to be the new U.N. envoy, but briefly withdrew from the race last week, citing family reasons.

Diplomats said Ban spoke with de Mistura over the weekend and the Swede told the secretary-general he had changed his mind and would accept the offer.

Agencies

Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2010, 22:41
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