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Appointment of UN Special Representative for Afghanistan.



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Media contact: Courtney Hoogen (Minister’s Office) 0488 244 901 Angus Mackenzie (Departmental) 02 6261 1555 www.dfat.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS THE HON STEPHEN SMITH, MP

FA051 12 March 2008

APPOINTMENT OF UN SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR AGHANISTAN

The Australian Government welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Kai Eide of Norway as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

The position heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which provides political support and the coordination of UN-led relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts, and is effectively the multilateral face and voice of the international community to the Afghan Government and people.

The Secretary-General’s decision to appoint Ambassador Eide is an important step forward.

Strengthening UN engagement in Afghanistan is crucial to progress on stabilisation and to establishing the longer term conditions needed to sustain peace and security.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative has a key role in leading and directing that engagement, and also in ensuring that international humanitarian and development activities are more effectively coordinated and extended throughout the country.

This is particularly important in southern Afghanistan, and we look forward to working with closely with Ambassador Eide to strengthen the role of UNAMA on the ground, including in Oruzgan province.

Ambassador Eide brings solid experience to the position, having served in a number of senior UN nation-building roles in the Balkans, including as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Kosovo in 2004-05.