Former German President Horst Köhler, New Personal Envoy for Sahara

UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced Wednesday the appointment of Horst Köhler, former President of Germany, as his Personal Envoy for the Sahara.

Mr. Köhler brings more than 35 years of experience in government and international organizations, including as President of the Federal Republic of Germany (2004-2010), said the UN spokesman in a statement.

He served as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund between 2000 and 2004, and as President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London (1998-2000), the statement said.

Köhler also served as State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance (1990-1993) before being appointed President of the German Savings Bank Association (1993).

From 2012 to 2013, he served on the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The new Personal Envoy succeeds American Christopher Ross whose tenure has expired in April after eight years of mediation that left the status quo unchanged. His term was marred by partial reports, a worn out negotiation process devoid of prospects for progress and biased and unbalanced guidance to the UN, in addition to his connivance with Algeria and a willingness to change the parameters of negotiations.

Given Köhler’s background, he is expected to lead UN mediation in the regional dispute over the Sahara with pragmatism, unlike his predecessor.

Köhler graduated from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen with a Diploma in Public Economics and Political Sciences in 1969. He also obtained his doctorate degree in Economics in 1977 and has been an Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen since 2003, the statement noted.

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