Former Dutch minister to head UN I. Coast mission

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday named former Dutch cabinet minister Bert Koenders to become the new head of the UN mission in Ivory Coast.

Koenders will take the place of South Korean Choi Young-Jin who will leave on August 31 after heading the mission, UNOCI, through the political turmoil in Ivory Coast after a disputed election last November.

UN troops helped President Alassane Ouattara force out incumbent Laurent Gbagbo amid unrest in which at least 3,000 people were killed.

"The secretary general is grateful for Mr. Chois dedicated service and excellent leadership of UNOCI for the past four years during a critical period and under very challenging circumstances," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

Koenders is a former development cooperation minister and official for the European Commission and United Nations.

© 2011 AFP

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