United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today named Pakistan's current Ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, as his Special Representative for Iraq.
The new envoy's predecessor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was among 22 people killed when terrorists attacked the UN offices in Baghdad on 19 August 2003.
A UN spokesperson said Mr. Qazi would be released from his current duties in "a week to two weeks" and would travel to New York for briefings "as a first step."
Mr. Qazi's appointment as Ambassador to Washington in September of 2002 capped a long and distinguished career. Before that posting, he had been Pakistan's High Commissioner to India since 1997.
The 62-year-old diplomat was Pakistan's Ambassador to China from 1994 to 1997. He also served as Ambassador to Russia (1991-1994), the then-East Germany (1990-1991) and Syria (1986-1988). In addition, the new UN envoy held various diplomatic assignments in Copenhagen, Tokyo, Cairo, Tripoli and London.
In making the announcement in New York, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said Mr. Qazi's name had been drawn from "a shortlist of three highly qualified persons" which also included Former Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan and India's former Foreign Secretary, Salman Haidar.