Secretary-General names Robert Serry of the Netherlands as Middle East envoy

29 November 2007

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced his intention to appoint Robert H. Serry of the Netherlands as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority.

“In this capacity, Mr. Serry will be the Envoy of the Secretary-General to the Quartet,” said UN spokesperson Michele Montas, referring to the diplomatic grouping which brings together the UN, European Union, Russian Federation and United States.

If approved as expected by the Security Council, Mr. Serry would succeed Michael Williams of the United Kingdom.

The Dutch official brings to the job decades of experience, having served most recently as Ambassador to Ireland. Prior to that, he was Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Crisis Management and Operations at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, where among other functions he had informal contacts with Palestinian and Israeli security experts (including ex-IDF officers) on lessons learned by NATO in the Balkans.

Earlier in his career, from 1986 to 1992, he was Head, Middle East Section/Director, Africa and Middle East Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at The Hague. In that capacity, he helped to conduct a pre-Oslo quiet diplomacy initiative to promote dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the framework of the Netherlands European Community presidency, Mr. Serry participated in the events leading to the Middle East Peace Conference held in Madrid in November 1991. He has also published several articles on political and peacekeeping topics ranging from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.

“The appointment of a new Special Coordinator comes at a critical juncture, as the Annapolis conference has created renewed momentum for peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” said Ms. Montas.

“Mr. Serry will play a pivotal role in coordinating all United Nations activities related to the Middle East peace process and in representing the Secretary-General in all arenas involving the parties and the international community.”

In a separate action, Ms. Montas also announced the appointment, in compliance with the provisions of a General Assembly resolution on the matter, of Vladimir Goryayev of the Russian Federation as Executive Director of the office of the UN Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The office of the UN Register of Damage, based in Vienna, is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly operating under the administrative authority of the Secretary-General.

Mr. Goryayev currently serves as Director a.i. for the Asia and the Pacific Division in the Department of Political Affairs, which he joined in 1988. Prior to that, Mr. Goryayev worked with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

In his new capacity, Mr. Goryayev will be responsible for overseeing and administrating the work of the office of the UN Register of Damage. As an ex-officio member of the Board of the Register of Damage, he will also be responsible for reviewing all the claim cases and presenting them to members of the Board for inclusion in the Register.

 

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