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Newly Appointed Envoy Assumes Duties In Lebanon

Newly appointed UN envoy assumes duties in Lebanon

4 June 2008 - The senior United Nations official tasked with coordinating the world body's work in Lebanon arrived today in the capital Beirut to take up his duties.

Johan Verbeke, a career Belgian diplomat, was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon on 10 April, succeeding Geir Pedersen of Norway.

The Special Coordinator will represent the Secretary-General on all political aspects of the Organization's work in the country, as well as be responsible for following up on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701.

In addition to ending Israel's war against Hizbollah in August 2006, resolution 1701 also called for renewed respect for the Blue Line separating Israeli and Lebanese forces, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, and enhanced the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the peacekeeping mission that has been there since 1978.

Based in Beirut, Mr. Verbeke is also tasked with ensuring coordination between the activities of the UN Country Team and the Lebanese Government, donors and international financial institutions.

Mr. Verbeke will begin his round of meetings with Lebanese officials this week.

ENDS

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