20:09 GMT07 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen to serve as next special envoy for Syria, who will replay outgoing envoy Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations announced in a statement on Wednesday.

    "United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced today the appointment of Geir O. Pedersen of Norway as his Special Envoy for Syria," the statement said. "The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to reiterate his deepest gratitude to Staffan de Mistura of Italy for his concerted efforts and contributions to the search for peace in Syria."

    READ MORE: UN Security Council Discusses Syrian Conflict (VIDEO)

    Pedersen has significant diplomatic experience, including serving as Norway's Representative to the Palestinian Authority from 1998 to 2003, as ambassador to the United Nations from 2012 to 2017 and ambassador to China since.

    At the United Nations, Pedersen served in various roles, including as Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Southern Lebanon and as Director of the Asia and Pacific Division in the Department of Political Affairs, the statement said.

    De Mistura announced earlier in October that he would leave the post at the end of November.

    Since 2011, Syria has been devastated by a violent conflict as various rebel groups and terrorist organizations battle the Syrian Army to topple the government of President Bashar Assad. The international community has taken efforts to settle the conflict by conducting political settlement talks in Geneva. The Astana-format talks have been an important part of international efforts to settle the conflict, including the creation of de-escalation zones since 2017.



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