UNITED NATIONS — The head of the United Nations on Sunday named Sigrid Kaag to lead the U.N.'s joint mission with the chemical weapons watchdog tasked with eliminating Syria's arsenal, diplomats said.
The U.N. Security Council, which is set to vote on Kaag's nomination Wednesday, has formally approved a first joint mission with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made his appointment of Kaag known in a letter addressed to Azerbaijan's U.N. envoy Agshin Mehdiyev, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.
The OPCW and the United Nations have had a team of 60 experts and support staff in Syria since October 1, destroying Syria's production facilities while the country's civil war rages on.
Kaag, a U.N. assistant secretary-general working at the U.N. Development Program, has served since 2007 as the regional director for the Middle East and North Africa with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Amman.
The mission she is set to lead must include about a hundred staff members and be based in Damascus, with a second base in Cyprus.
Kaag is charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile by June 30, in line with a resolution passed by the Security Council last month.
She joined the U.N. system in 1994 after a stint in the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
Since then, she has also worked as a senior U.N. adviser in Sudan, with the International Organization for Migration and with the UN refugee agency UNRWA in Jerusalem.
Kaag, 52, speaks Dutch, English, French, German, and Arabic.
© AFP 2014