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German diplomat Kobler to be new UN Iraq envoy

(Reuters) / 5 August 2011

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday named veteran German diplomat Martin Kobler as his next special envoy to Iraq, overseeing the world body’s political, economic and human rights operations there.

Kobler, a former German ambassador to Iraq and Egypt, and chief of staff from 2000 to 2003 to then German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, will replace former Dutch politician Ad Melkert as head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Since March of last year Kobler has been deputy UN special envoy to Afghanistan.

The United Nations has no peacekeeping troops in Iraq and UNAMI is a civilian mission whose tasks include assisting with political reconciliation, regional cooperation, elections, human rights monitoring and development aid.

UNAMI was set up after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq but within months a suicide bombing devastated its headquarters at Baghdad’s Canal Hotel, killing mission chief Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other people.

It then moved to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

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