News / Middle East

Dutch Diplomat Tapped to Lead Syria Weapons Destruction

FILE - Sigrid Kaag will coordinate the joint U.N.-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.
FILE - Sigrid Kaag will coordinate the joint U.N.-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons.
Margaret Besheer
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag to head up the mission to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program. The U.N. chief also says he is intensifying efforts to see that the Geneva II peace talks are held in mid-November. 

Ban made a surprise appearance at the regular U.N. press briefing Wednesday to introduce Kaag as his choice to coordinate the joint U.N.-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to rid Syria of its chemical arsenal.

He said Kaag, who has 20 years of diplomatic and U.N. experience, would report directly to him and the director general of The Hague-based OPCW.

“Her role includes ensuring access and security for the OPCW inspectors, as well as logistical, communications, medical, administrative and policy support, areas where the United Nations is uniquely capable of contributing,” Ban said.

Kaag will be based in Cyprus, where the mission will have its staging area and support base.

The secretary-general said the new special coordinator will also have to manage the provision of international assistance to complete the elimination of the Syria’s chemical weapons program.

“We have no illusions on the challenges ahead," Ban said. "The situation in Syria remains dangerous and unpredictable. The cooperation of all parties in Syria is required.”

Kaag, 52, who has served as an assistant secretary-general in the U.N. Development Program since 2010, has extensive experience in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.

"I am deeply honored, and I am most humbled, to be entrusted with this very complex and challenging assignment,” Kaag said in brief remarks to the press.

She said she would travel to The Hague on Friday to consult with the director general of the OPCW.

Ban made clear that while the United Nations has been dealing with Syria’s chemical weapons program, it has not stopped vigorously pursuing a political solution to the crisis, which has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions more.

He said he and his advisors are intensifying efforts to hold the Geneva II peace conference in mid-November.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs