9 September 1998

Press Release


Biographical Note Andre Mernier, the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the Conference on Disarmament since 1996, was this afternoon elected Chairman of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) for the fifty-third session of the General Assembly.

Mr. Mernier was the Director of the Disarmament Section in his country's Foreign Affairs Ministry from 1994 to 1996; Vice-Chairman of the First Committee during the fifty-first session of the Assembly, and is a member, since 1996, of the United Nations Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms. He was the Secretary-General of the Preparatory Conference for the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti- personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, held in Brussels in November 1997, and is the current representative of Belgium to the Centre of Humanitarian Mine Clearance in Geneva.

Mr. Mernier first joined his country's Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1975, following a career in the Belgian Armed Forces and in the private sector. During his years of diplomatic service, he served as the Ambassador of Belgium to the Republic of Korea (1990-1994), Chief of the Belgian Military Mission in West Berlin and Consul General of Belgium (1988-1990), Consul at the Belgian Consulate in East Berlin (1985-1988), and as First Secretary in Washington, D.C. (1981-1985). He also served at the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1978-1981), and was the Chargé d'affaires at the Embassy in Cyprus (1977-1978) and the Vice-Consul at the Belgian Consulate in Amsterdam (1976).

Mr. Mernier received a law degree in 1973 from the University of Louvain. He attended a military academy in Brussels prior to becoming an officer in the Belgian Armed Forces (1963-1972).

Born on 26 May 1943, Mr. Mernier is married and has two children.

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