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UN Secretary-General Nominates Special Envoy to Iraq - 2003-05-24

As expected Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan named the global organization's High Commissioner for Human Rights to serve as his special representative for Iraq.

Mr. Annan has sent a letter to the Security Council nominating longtime U.N. diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello as his special representative for Iraq.

Thursday, the council opened the door to a larger role for the United Nations in Iraq's reconstruction when it adopted a resolution lifting more than 12 years of crippling economic sanctions.

The resolution specifies that the U.N. envoy will "work intensively" with Britain and the United States, the occupying authority, to restore Iraqi institutions and monitor judicial reform and human rights issues. He will also sit on the advisory board which will monitor Iraqi oil sales to pay for the reconstruction effort.

Mr. de Mello, a Brazilian national, served as the U.N. special representative to East Timor in the late 1990s when that nation first gained its independence from Indonesia after years of civil conflict. He has headed the U.N. Human Rights office, based in Geneva, since July.

The Security Council is expected to approve his appointment early next week after a long holiday weekend in the United States.