Afghanistan Annan names deputy envoy Brahimi visits quake area

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today named French national Jean Arnault as his Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.Mr. Arnault, whose appointment took effect immediately, succeeds Francesc Vendrell, who retired from the UN at the end of January.Working out of Kabul, Mr. Arnault will act as Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi’s deputy responsible for political matters. He will be the head of the political pillar of the UN mission in Afghanistan, while Nigel Fisher heads the humanitarian and developmental pillar.Over the course of his diplomatic career, Mr. Arnault served previously as the Secretary-General’s Representative for Burundi from June 2000 to August 2001, and as Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for the UN Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) from 1997-2000.Meanwhile, Mr. Brahimi, accompanied by Interim Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials, visited the earthquake-affected province of Samangan in the north of the country.Speaking to the press following the visit, Mr. Brahimi urged assistance to the victims of the disaster. “We have seen people who are extremely dignified – extremely poor, affected – but standing up and looking to the future,” he said. “They need a lot of help.”

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