Annan names new Force Commander for UN’s Western Sahara mission

Annan names new Force Commander for UN’s Western Sahara mission

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has decided to appoint Major-General Gyorgy Szaraz of Hungary as the new Force Commander for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

In an exchange of letters with the President of the Security Council released today, the Secretary-General says Maj.-Gen. Szaraz’s appointment, to be effective starting 11 August, will be “subject to the Security Council’s decision on the extension of the mandate of MINURSO after 31 July.”

The 56-year old incoming Force Commander, who has an extensive background in the armed forces, began his career as a desk officer in Hungary’s Military Intelligence Office in 1968. Over the years, he has served in various capacities, including Defence, Military and Air Attaché in Brussels and in Beijing. Maj.-Gen. Szaraz currently serves as Head of the Department for International Cooperation in the Hungarian Ministry of Defence.

MINURSO was set up in 1991 to allow the people of Western Sahara to choose between independence and integration into Morocco. The current Force Commander, Brigadier-General Claude Buze of Belgium, will complete his tour of duty on 10 August.