BEIRUT: Dutch diplomat Sigrid Kaag will replace Derek Plumbly as the new United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, media reports said over the weekend.
Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported that Kaag, who currently heads the joint Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons- United Nations mission in Syria, will the new representative for U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon in Lebanon.
When contacted by The Daily Star, the office of the Special Coordinator for Lebanon said Plumbly returns to Beirut from New York on Sunday.
The office said Kaag and Plumbly were both “very committed to their present roles,” adding that no decisions have been taken with regards to future appointments.
The office highlighted that the mandate of the Special Coordinator for Lebanon was not a fixed one.
Kaag, 53, was tipped to replace Lakhdar Brahimi as U.N. envoy to Syria but the Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura ended up taking the post. Kaag speaks Arabic, according to al-Hayat.
A U.N. representative for Lebanon was originally established in the year 2000, based on the Secretary-General’s report to the Security Council dated July 20, 2000 that expressed the intention to appoint a senior official to be based in Beirut to help coordinate United Nations activities with regard to southern Lebanon.
Then, in a letter to the Lebanese Prime Minister on February 8, 2007, the United Nations Secretary-General announced his intention to appoint a Special Coordinator for Lebanon.
Subsequently, the title of the post was changed from Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Lebanon to Special Coordinator for Lebanon.
In his letter, the Secretary-General mandated his Special Coordinator to represent him on all political and coordination aspects of the work of the United Nations in Lebanon.