UN chief appoints new Afghan envoy
KABUL (PAN): United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named Slovak diplomat Ján Kubiš as his new envoy to Afghanistan, a challenging post that will be changing hands for the third time in four years.
Staffen De Mistura will complete his assignment as the UN special representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on December 31, 2011.
In a statement, Ban said he was grateful to de Mistura for his dedication and leadership of UNAMA. He served in one of the most challenging duty stations during a period that has seen important developments, including parliamentary elections, a high-level international conference held in Kabul, and the beginning of security transition to the Afghan government, Ban said.
Kubis, 59, who speaks five languages and graduated from a Moscow international relations institute, is a former Slovakian foreign minister, with a lengthy career as an international official. Most recently, he has been head of the UN Economic Commission for Europe.
Kubiš brings with him more than three decades of experience in areas of diplomacy, foreign security policy and international economic relations. He also served as the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
He also served as chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from 2007 to 2008 and as secretary-general of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from 1999 to 2005.
His prior assignments include serving as the European Union’s special representative for Central Asia with the office in Brussels and as personal representative of the chairman-in-office of OSCE for Central Asia.
He has also served with the United Nations as special representative of the secretary-general for Tajikistan and head of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan from 1998 to 1999.
Prior to this, he was the director of OSCE’s Conflict Prevention Centre. Kubiš worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the former Czechoslovakia from 1976 to 1992 and thereafter at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia. In 1993, he served as permanent representative of Slovakia in Geneva to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations.
A graduate in International Economic Relations of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Kubiš was born in Bratislava on 12 November, 1952, and speaks Slovak, Czech, English, French and Russian. He is married and has one daughter.
The United Nations has no peacekeepers in Afghanistan, where the US and NATO troops are battling Taliban insurgents. The UN mission is engaged in political support and aid work, compiling closely watched reports on civilian casualty figures from the Afghan conflict.
The UN announcement of Kubis's appointment described the Afghanistan job as "one of the most challenging duty stations." Seven UN personnel were killed in April in an attack on the UN compound in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.
The post has been politically controversial. De Mistura's predecessor, Kai Eide of Norway, became involved in a dispute with his US deputy Peter Galbraith over the conduct of elections in Afghanistan, which ended with Galbraith being fired.
Eide's predecessor, Tom Koenigs of Germany, was criticised by some Western diplomats at the United Nations as ineffective. De Mistura has largely avoided controversy since taking over the job in March last year.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.