The outgoing United Nations envoy for the Middle East is moving on to another hot regional issue after being appointed today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as his top aide on the question of foreign troops in Lebanon.
Terje Roed-Larsen, currently the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, was named the Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559, effective 3 January 2005.
That Council text, sponsored by France and the United States, was narrowly adopted in September ahead of elections in Lebanon. It declared the Council's support for polling free from outside influence, and called for the withdrawal of all remaining foreign forces, the disbanding of all militias and the extension of Government control over the entire country.
In an initial report in October the Secretary-General said Syria had not withdrawn its troops from Lebanon, as the Council had called for, although Damascus said some 3,000 of its forces have been redeployed. Mr. Annan added that the Governments of both countries also informed him that the timing of further withdrawals would be determined by the security situation in Lebanon and the region but said they could not provide a schedule for such action.
As part of his duties, Mr. Roed-Larsen will assist the Secretary-General in the preparation of his semi-annual reports to the Council. He will consult with the Government of Lebanon and other interested Member States and the relevant UN agencies in gathering the information necessary for the preparation of the reports.