Chinese selected to lead UN peacekeeping force in Western Sahara

27 August 2007

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Major-General Zhao Jingmin as the new Force Commander for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the first time that the world body has had a Chinese national head one of its missions.

Maj.-Gen. Zhao succeeds Gen. Kurt Mosgaard of Denmark, who will complete his tour of duty as Force Commander today, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.

Born in 1954, Maj.-Gen. Zhaohas held senior posts in the Office of Peacekeeping Affairs in China’s National Defence Ministry since October 2003, and he has previously served in MINURSO as a military observer from September 1991 to June 1992. In 1996-97 he also served as a liaison officer with the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).

MINURSO has been in place since September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, which contest Western Sahara. In an April resolution, the Security Council called on the parties to enter into negotiations “without preconditions in good faith.”

 

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