Koenders appointed as UN special representative in Mali
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Bert Koenders as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The former Dutch minister for development cooperation will be responsible for the entire UN operation in Mali and will coordinate the international efforts there.
MINUSMA was established to contribute to peace and stability in Mali. Mr Koenders will be responsible for a new-style mission consisting of more than 11,000 troops and 1,440 police officers. Under his leadership, the mission will launch peace talks, help to organise elections, protect the civilian population, and set up and run a large number of programmes for judicial reform, economic development and human rights.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans is delighted about the appointment: ‘I trust that Bert Koenders will make a significant contribution to peace and security for the people in Mali and throughout the West African region. He has a key role in the process of building consensus among all the parties. It won’t be an easy task but it is a crucial one.’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen agrees: ‘Stability is essential for putting the development of Mali and the entire region back on track. The country needs a new government that people can rely on to make this happen.’
Mr Koenders himself described the new mission as a major challenge in an extremely complex situation. ‘It is a privilege for me, as a Dutch citizen, to be appointed to this task by the Secretary-General,’ he said. ‘The mission is of paramount significance for the people of Mali and the Sahel region, but global and Dutch interests are also at stake.’