Ban names new top UN envoy for Haiti as it seeks to rebuild following quake

Edmond Mulet (right) with Haitian President René Préval (file)

31 March 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today named Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet as his Special Representative in Haiti in succession to Hédi Annabi, who died in the earthquake that devastated the impoverished Caribbean country in January.

It is the second time that Mr. Mulet, a seasoned Guatemalan diplomat who has been Acting Special Representative since Mr. Annabi’s death, will hold the twin positions of Special Representative and Head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). He first served there from 2006 until 2007, when he was named Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and handed over the mission to Mr. Annabi.

“In the weeks following the devastating earthquake, Mr. Mulet has demonstrated his remarkable leadership and through his resilience, strength, clear-sightedness and determination has anchored the efforts of the United Nations family, the people of Haiti, Governments of the region and the broader international community,” Mr. Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said in announcing the appointment.

Before 2006, Mr. Mulet served as Guatemalan Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, negotiating tourism, trade and economic cooperation, as well as political issues. He also took part in preparing several summit meetings between the EU and the Latin American and Caribbean group.

An active political presence in his country since 1976, Mr. Mulet promoted human rights, democracy and the resolution of indigenous issues. When Guatemala was ruled by military regimes, he was forced to leave a number of times and was wrongly imprisoned for a short period in 1981 before winning the first of many elections to Guatemala’s National Congress, where he was active in opposing the military’s “self-amnesty” law.

Mr. Mulet, who has also served as Guatemala’s Ambassador to the United States, was educated in his home country, Canada, the US and Switzerland. He later attended Guatemala’s Universidad Mariano Galvez and became a lawyer.

Mr. Ban also paid tribute to Mr. Annabi, a Tunisian, who he said ranked amongst the UN’s most dedicated and energetic officers. “Mr. Annabi’s commitment, integrity and diligence inspired and shaped an entire generation of United Nations officers and will continue to be the gold standard against which all who serve in the international civil service will be measured,” Mr. Nesirky said.

The quake that destroyed the world body’s headquarters in the capital, Port-au-Prince, claimed the lives of 101 UN staff.

MINUSTAH has been on the ground since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest. Currently there are more than 9,000 military and police personnel deployed and nearly 2,000 civilian staff.


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