Veteran envoy to head Malian mission

May 20, 2013 at 10:07 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, May 20 (UPI) -- Veteran U.N. envoy Bert Koenders will be tasked with helping Mali ensure political stability and regain territorial integrity, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that Koenders will serve as the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali.

"The mission will help the Malian authorities to implement the transitional road map toward the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity," the United Nations said. "This includes the holding of elections in July, confidence-building and facilitation of reconciliation at the national and local levels."

Koenders served previously as the U.N. special envoy to Ivory Coast.

Mali in January requested military support from former colonial power France to help fight off foreign and al-Qaida militants that seized territory following a 2012 coup.

Mali secured around $4 billion in international donor assistance during a conference last week. Koenders said the pledges send a strong message of support for Mali's success.

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