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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

"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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