UN names envoy for Syria chemical weapons

The head of the United Nations named Sigrid Kaag to lead the UN`s joint mission with the chemical weapons watchdog tasked with eliminating Syria`s arsenal, diplomats said.

AFP| Updated: Oct 14, 2013, 11:39 AM IST

United Nations: The head of the United Nations named Sigrid Kaag to lead the UN`s joint mission with the chemical weapons watchdog tasked with eliminating Syria`s arsenal, diplomats said.

The UN Security Council, which is set to vote on Kaag`s nomination Wednesday, has formally approved a first joint mission with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made his appointment of Kaag known yesterday in a letter addressed to Azerbaijan`s UN envoy Agshin Mehdiyev, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.

The OPCW and the UN have had a team of 60 experts and support staff in Syria since October 1, destroying Syria`s production facilities while the country`s civil war rages on.
Kaag, a UN assistant secretary-general working at the UN Development Program, has served since 2007 as the regional director for the Middle East and North Africa with the United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) in Amman.

The mission she is set to lead must include about a hundred staff members and be based in Damascus, with a second base in Cyprus.

Kaag is charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria`s chemical weapons stockpile by June 30, in line with a resolution passed by the Security Council last month.
She joined the UN system in 1994 after a stint in the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

Since then, she has also worked as a senior UN adviser in Sudan, with the International Organization for Migration and with the UN refugee agency UNRWA in Jerusalem.

Kaag, 52, speaks Dutch, English, French, German and Arabic.