MOSCOW, July 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expects successful work with Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura, who has been nominated as the next UN special representative for Syria, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
“He has extensive experience in mediating, he has served as the UN secretary general’s special representative in Iraq, Afghanistan. We have known him personally for a long time, I think we will work successfully together,” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.
On Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reported that de Mistura is to become the UN Secretary-General’s envoy to Syria, citing a UN diplomatic source. Five permanent members of the UN Security Council have been informed that de Mistura has been nominated for the position. The decision is still to be officially announced at the UN. The new envoy is due to start fulfilling his duties “…as soon as he is physically able to do this.”
Previously, de Mistura held positions in various UN agencies. The diplomat also served as Italy’s deputy foreign minister and led the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). De Mistura is currently the president of the European Institute of Peace, based in Brussels.
The post of UN special representative for Syria has been vacant since Lakhdar Brahimi’s resignation in May. Brahimi presided over two rounds of peace talks between the government of President Bashar Assad and the Syrian opposition in Geneva this January and February. The talks produced no major results.