UN's Mali envoy named Dutch foreign minister

Bert Koenders, 56, an economist and civil servant who has been based in the Malian capital Bamako for just over a year, will replace Frans Timmermans

UN's Mali envoy named Dutch foreign minister

World Bulletin/News Desk

The head of the United Nations' Mali mission is to quit to take up a new job as the Netherlands' foreign minister, the Dutch government said on Tuesday, opening up a vacancy in the west African nation at a time of growing instability.

Bert Koenders, 56, an economist and civil servant who has been based in the Malian capital Bamako for just over a year, will replace Frans Timmermans, who is going to Brussels to become a vice-president of the European Commission.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission he has headed is trying to stabilise the vast desert region of northern Mali after French troops drove out rebels last year.

However, a total of 31 U.N. peacekeepers have been killed and 91 wounded since the mission was deployed in July 2013 and the attacks have increased in recent months.

Koenders, who came to Mali after two years leading a U.N. mission in neighbouring Ivory Coast, has been a key figure in trying to push forward peace talks between the Malian rebels and the Bamako government.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Ekim 2014, 14:20

Muhammed Öylek

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