Secretary-General names new head of UN mission in Western Sahara
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today informed the Security Council that he will appoint a seasoned United Nations diplomat, Francesco Bastagli of Italy, to head up the 14-year-old UN mission responsible for organizing a referendum for the Western Sahara.
Mr. Bastagli will head the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which was deployed in September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire and to organize and conduct a referendum which would allow the people of Western Sahara to decide the Territory's future status following the agreement between the Government of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro).
He will replace Alvaro de Soto, who is now UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Secretary-General's Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority.
Mr. Bastagli has been with the UN since 1974 and is currently Deputy Special Representative for Civil Administration for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Mr. Annan's spokesman said that the Security Council's response was expected shortly.