Liberia

Liberia: Alan Doss confirmed as new UN special representative

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ABIDJAN, 21 July (IRIN) - The United Nations has confirmed the appointment of Alan Doss, a Briton with several years experience of conflict resolution in West Africa, as the new head of its large mission in Liberia, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

For the past year Doss has been deputy head of the UN mission in neighbouring Cote d'Ivoire, where international mediators are still trying to end a civil war that broke out in 2002.

Before that, he held the same position in Sierra Leone, which is slowly recovering from a 1991-2001 conflict.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Doss as his new Special Representative in Liberia on 15 July.

The post has been vacant since Jacques Paul Klein, a charismatic American, departed from Monrovia at the end of April.

Doss, a soft-spoken 60-year-old veteran UN official, will take over the command of a 15,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Liberia.

He will also supervise a massive UN operation to assist hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people to return home as the country gears up for presidential and parliamentary elections on 11 October.

In the longer term, Doss faces the difficult task of persuading Liberia's notoriously corrupt government officials to mend their ways while at the same time securing international aid to help rebuild the country after a 14-year civil war which ended in August 2003.

Doss's previous assignments with the United Nations have included postings in Thailand, China, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Benin.

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