The UN Security Council was informed by Antonio Guterres on his intention to appoint Geir Ove Pedersen as his special envoy to Syria. According to the UN News, the Norwegian experienced diplomat is currently holding the position of Norway’s ambassador to China.
The UN chief Antonio Guterres confirmed the upcoming change of his special envoy corps. Geir Ove Pedersen will replace Staffan de Mistura, who announced earlier this month that he is leaving the position by November end.
“I am pleased to inform you of my intention to announce the appointment of Mr Geir O Pedersen as my Special Envoy for Syria,” Guterres wrote in a letter and added he took such an important decision after the broad consulttion including with the government of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Mr Pedersen had the informal approval of the council’s five permanent members – Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain. For Syria, veteran Norwegian diplomat is a neutral figure whose professional skills could meet the democratic aspirations of people in the war-torn country.
According to the UN chief, Geir Pedersen will support the Syrian parties by facilitating a peaceful dialogue. The Norwegian diplomat will replace Staffan de Mistura who is the longest serving of three UN mediators so far. It is worth to note that 71-year-old Mistura holds that position over four years but he said he has to quit due to family reasons.
Announcing the upcoming rotation of the UN diplomats, Antonio Guterres called on the international community and the Syrian government to give Mr Pedersen all possible support.
Geir Ove Pedersen has served as special coordinator for Lebanon in 2007-2008, took part in the negotiations of the 1993 Oslo accords, later was Norway’s representative to the Palestinian Authority between 1998 and 2003.