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Staffan de Mistura Is Appointed UN Special Envoy for Western Sahara

Antonio Guterres names the Italian diplomat to resolve the crisis in the Western Sahara that has resulted in tensions between Morocco and Algeria

Staffan de Mistura, former UN Special Envoy to Syria, at the Security Council speaking on the situation in the Middle East. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Staffan de Mistura of Italy as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.

He succeeds Horst Köhler of Germany, who completed his assignment on 22 May 2019 and to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his steadfast and intensive efforts which laid the foundation for a new momentum in the political process on Western Sahara.

The new Personal Envoy will provide good offices on behalf of the Secretary-General.  He will work with all relevant interlocutors, including the parties, neighbouring countries and other stakeholders, guided by Security Council resolution 2548 (2020) and other relevant resolutions.

Mr. de Mistura brings more than 40 years of experience in diplomacy and political affairs.  During his career with the United Nations, he served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, providing good offices aimed at promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.  Prior appointments include Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and for Iraq, Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Southern Lebanon, and Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Rome.  He also served the Organization in various posts in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Vietnam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, among others.

In addition to his service with the United Nations, he was appointed Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and thereafter Deputy Foreign Minister in Italy.

Mr. de Mistura speaks English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish, as well as Arabic (colloquial).

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