As the Peruvian Alvaro de Soto – whose peacemaking skills were put to use in the Middle East, Western Sahara and Myanmar, among other places – concludes a quarter century of service to the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his profound gratitude to him for his contributions to the world body.
“During a distinguished career both at UN Headquarters and in the field, the diplomatic talents of Under-Secretary-General Alvaro de Soto were in high demand around the world,” Mr. Ban said in a statement released by his spokesperson.
Mr. Ban also noted that Mr. de Soto’s work spanned the globe, “from El Salvador to Myanmar, Cyprus to Western Sahara, and most recently in the search for peace in the Middle East.”
Since June 2005, Mr. de Soto has been serving as a Middle East envoy, a position to which he was named by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Prior to that, he was appointed as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus in 1999.
As the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for the Central American Peace Process, Mr. de Soto led the 1990-1991 negotiations that brought an end to the decade-long war in El Salvador.
“The agreements he helped to broker in El Salvador not only brought a better future to the people of that country, but also became a model for UN peacemaking efforts elsewhere,” Mr. Ban said.
“Mr. de Soto’s contributions to the development of UN practices in conflict mediation and resolution will be a lasting part of his legacy to the United Nations.”
Before joining the UN, Mr. de Soto served Peru as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lima, at UN Headquarters in New York and in Geneva. Mr. de Soto was the coordinator and spokesman for the Group of 77 and China in negotiations on the Convention on the Law of the Sea.