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Secretary-General names new envoy for Liberia


Secretary-General names new envoy for Liberia

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed a senior American diplomat and former top UN official in the Balkans as his new special envoy for Liberia, in light of the rapidly unfolding political events in the war-torn West African nation.

In a letter released at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council of a number of urgent initiatives he had taken to address the grave situation prevailing in Liberia, notably, naming Jacques Klein, former head of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), as his Special Representative for Liberia to lead and coordinate the activities of the UN in that country.

Late last month, Mr. Annan warned that the volatile situation in Liberia could deteriorate into a massive humanitarian catastrophe and urged the Council to mandate the deployment of a multinational force to the country. "The consequences of allowing the situation to spiral out of control are too terrible to contemplate," he said in a strongly worded letter, calling attention to the danger posed not only to Liberia, but also other West African States, particularly neighbouring Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire.

In anticipation of the early deployment of such a multinational force, and with consequent improvement in security, Mr. Annan’s latest letter said he had instructed a speedy return of all UN agencies providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Liberia at the height of the conflict. Precarious security conditions had forced the suspension of virtually all international relief operations in most parts of the country.

He also said he was sending Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, Special Representative for West Africa, to Accra to provide full UN support to the ongoing dialogue among the Liberian parties attending peace talks that have been underway there since 4 June.

Mr. Annan also requested his Representative for Liberia, Abou Moussa, and Resident Coordinator Marc de Bernis, to return to Monrovia, the Liberian capital, to prepare for the return of UN and associated personnel.


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