French diplomat Ladsous becomes head of UN peacekeeping

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The United Nations on Friday named Herve Ladsous of France as the new head of the huge UN peacekeeping operation.

Ladsous, 61, is formerly a French ambassador in China and a foreign ministry spokesman. He takes the place of another French official, Alain Le Roy, as under secretary general in charge of the peacekeeping department.

Ladsous, a speaker of Chinese and the Malay language, takes over an operation with an $8 billion a year budget. There are more than 110,000 troops serving in 15 UN peacekeeping operations around the world.

The department has taken on increasing importance as the UN Security Council has approved growing numbers of missions which highlight the need to protect civilians.

UN forces played a key role in helping Alassane Ouattara take office in Ivory Coast this year when his predecessor refused to leave the president's office.

France has now provided the last three peacekeeping chiefs.

"Mr. Ladsous brings to the position an extensive experience in the diplomatic field acquired during his service in a variety of countries," said deputy UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey.

"He also brings to the position an acute political judgment, strong crisis-management capacities, especially in the area of peacekeeping, a profound understanding of the challenges facing the United Nations. His capacity to build consensus is recognized by his peers all over the world."

Ladsous has been a diplomat for France since 1971. He has held postings in Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Haiti and as ambassador in Beijing from 2007 to 2010.

He was also part of the French mission at the UN in Geneva and New York and permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.

Ladsous is currently chief of staff to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

© 2011 AFP

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