UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary-General Boutros Ghali has appointed a Japanese national to head the United Nations' largest and costliest peacekeeping operation in Cambodia, the U.N. announced Thursday.
Ghali met Wednesday with Yasushi Akashi, 61, to give him the assignment, which will put him in charge of the largest and costliest peace force, to be composed possibly of up to 20,000 military and civilian personnel and costing up to $1 billion for a two-year period, U.N. spokeswoman Nadia Younes said.
The U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia, or UNTAC, which will be deployed in Cambodia in the coming months, will partly take over the administration in Phnom Penh and organize general elections to be held some time in 1993.
UNTAC is mandated to work with the 12-member Supreme National Council, Cambodia's sovereign body, during the transition. The SNC, composed of the four rival Cambodian factions during that country's 12- year-old civil war, is headed by Prince Norodom Sihanouk.
UNTAC will take over the task of the current U.N. advance team of 268 members, which will be strengthened by the arrival soon of another 1,090 military and civilian personnel to begin the difficult work of removing mines that have maimed thousands of Cambodian refugees trying to return to a normal life.
Younes said Akashi, who holds the rank of an undersecretary-general, will leave his position as head of the U.N. department of disarmament. He previously headed the public information department, which oversees publication and public relations for the entire U.N. system.
Akashi joined the United Nations in 1979 after serving as his country's ambassador to the United Nations. He is one of three high- ranking Japanese officials in the United Nations. The other two are Sadako Ogata, the high commissioner for refugees, and Hiroshi Nakajima, director-general of the World Health Organization.