New UN envoy to Afghanistan arrives at troubled mission
Last Updated: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 23:54
Kabul: The new UN representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, arrived on Saturday to take up his post at a mission that has suffered blows to its standing and morale in the past year.

De Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat, said he would focus on improving the stability and economy of the country, while respecting its sovereignty.

"Whatever the UN will be doing -- and we will be doing what we can in order to assist both the stability and the socio-economic improvement of the Afghan people -- it will be done remembering that it should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and in total respect of their own sovereignty," he told reporters.

"The Afghan people have suffered a lot and have endured a lot of difficult times. They deserve international support, but they deserve above all a better future. And the UN will do its part."

De Mistura, who held the same post in Iraq, replaces Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide as head of the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), established in 2001 after the Taliban regime was overturned.

He takes the reins at a mission that has lost standing in the eyes of Afghans and the international community, after Eide had a public spat with his deputy, American Peter Galbraith, over last year's fraud-tainted elections.


First Published: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 23:54

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