Three new UN under secretaries-general have been chosen by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his reshuffling of top posts for his second five-year term: Maged Abdelaziz, Egypt’s UN ambassador since 2005, as special adviser on Africa; Angela Kane of Germany as high representative for disarmament affairs; and Sven Alkalaj, a former foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe.
Abdelaziz, 57, has more than 33 years’ experience in international diplomacy, having served as diplomatic adviser and spokesman for President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Abdelaziz also developed experience in disarmament issues at the UN through his work at the Egyptian mission. He has been active with the nonaligned movement, the group of countries that are unaffiliated with a single political bloc and that recently named an Egyptian to run it.
Egypt makes up about 5 percent of UN peacekeeping troops, and politically remains “the most central Arab country,” said a former high-level staffer in the UN, who added that it will be particularly interesting to watch how Abdelaziz handles such African issues as the Nile water distribution and Southern Sudan.
Abdelaziz graduated from the Ain Shams University School of Law in Cairo, is married to Amira Kandil and has one daughter.
Kane comes to her new job with more than 35 years’ experience at the UN in political and disarmament areas and other specialties. Since 2008, she has been under secretary-general for management. In 2010, she defended Ban’s leadership after the UN’s anticorruption chief, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, criticized him in an internal end-of-assignment memo, saying he was sending the UN into international decline.
Before the management position, Kane was assistant secretary-general for political affairs, the UN agency charged with preventing and resolving conflicts. Her field experience includes serving as deputy special representative of the secretary-general for the UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Kane, who was born in 1948 and is married, also worked for the World Bank in Washington, D.C. She has degrees from Bryn Mawr College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Alkalaj, a 63-year-old Bosnian-Croat, has been foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina and ambassador in Washington and Brussels. He has worked on political and economic issues at the national, regional, European and international levels, particularly with Eastern European and Central Asian countries.
At the assistant secretary-general level, Ban has appointed Jacqueline Carol Badcock of Britain as the deputy special representative for the UN mission in Iraq, where she will assist Martin Kobler of Germany, the special representative.
Nicholas Haysom of South Africa will become deputy special representative (political) for the UN mission in Afghanistan, working with Jan Kubis, a Slovakian and the special representative. The UN mission was attacked last month at its compound in Kunduz in northeast Afghanistan amid protests over the burning of the Koran by American soldiers. No one at the mission was killed, but five demonstrators died during the attack.
Yoon Yeocheol of Korea will be Ban’s new chief of protocol. Most recently, he has been the director of the scheduling unit for Ban. He was also the director of protocol in the Korean Foreign Ministry.