Ahead of Moscow and Ankara conferences on the Afghan peace process, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Jean Arnault as his personal envoy on Afghanistan and the regional issues.
“The Secretary-General has asked Mr. Arnault to assist in the achievement of a political solution to the conflict, working closely with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and regional partners,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Wednesday.
The appointment comes as Moscow is hosting a multilateral conference on the Afghan peace process with the presence of the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, a high-level delegation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, a 10-member Taliban delegation, and also representatives from Pakistan and China.
Dujjaric, however, said that the UN has not sent anyone to represent it in the Moscow conference.
The Moscow gathering will be followed by a meeting of regional players in the first week of April in Turkey and a summit that Khalilzad has asked the UN to organize, styled on a 2001 conference in the German city of Bonn, according to Aljazeera.
A letter leaked to the Afghan media earlier in March suggests that the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is pushing for a transitional peace government and a ceasefire through the Ankara conference on Afghanistan.
Arnault, a veteran French diplomat, brings over 30 years of experience in international diplomacy focusing on peace settlements and mediation, with an extensive background in UN missions in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, including Afghanistan.
His most recent assignments included Delegate of the Secretary-General to the Colombia peace talks and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Colombia from 2015 to 2018; and Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Bolivia from 2019 to 2020.