Secretary-General Kofi Annan today nominated a veteran Norwegian diplomat with Middle Eastern and United Nations experience to be his new Personal Representative for southern Lebanon, focusing on containing tensions along the line marking the withdrawal of Israeli forces.
Mr. Annan informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Geir Pedersen to replace Staffan de Mistura, whom the Secretary-General named in January as his Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, and "we expect the Security Council to respond in writing shortly," spokesman Fred Eckhard told the daily news briefing in New York.
During the past two years, Mr. Pedersen has served as Director of the Asia and Pacific Division in the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), in which capacity he also worked on the Middle East peace process and Iraq.
Prior to that, he served for many years as a Norwegian diplomat, including a stint from 1998 to 2003 as his country's representative to the Palestinian Authority. In 1993 he was a member of the Norwegian team to the secret Oslo negotiations that led to the signing of the Declaration of Principles and the mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.