UN names envoy for Syria chemical weapons
UN assistant secretary-general Sigrid Kaag to lead the UN’s joint mission with chemical weapons watchdog
The head of the United Nations on Sunday named Sigrid Kaag to lead the UN’s joint mission with the chemical weapons watchdog tasked with eliminating Syria’s arsenal, diplomats said.
The UN Security Council, which is set to vote on Kaag’s nomination on Wednesday, has formally approved a first joint mission with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made his appointment of Kaag known in a letter addressed to Azerbaijan’s UN envoy Agshin Mehdiyev, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.
The OPCW and the UN have had a team of 60 experts and support staff in Syria since October 1, destroying Syria’s production facilities while the country’s civil war rages on.
Kaag, a UN assistant secretary-general working at the UN Development Program, has served since 2007 as the regional director for the Middle East and North Africa with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Amman.
The mission she is set to lead must include about a hundred staff members and be based in Damascus, with a second base in Cyprus.
Kaag is charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile by June 30, in line with a resolution passed by the Security Council last month.
She joined the UN system in 1994 after a stint in the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
Since then, she has also worked as a senior UN adviser in Sudan, with the International Organiation for Migration and with the UN refugee agency UNRWA in Jerusalem.
Kaag, 52, speaks Dutch, English, French, German and Arabic.