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UN names Russian diplomat to lead European HQ


AFP Geneva
Russian diplomat Tatiana Valovaya has been named the next director-general of the UN office at Geneva, making the former journalist the first woman appointed to run the world body's European headquarters.
The appointment by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres restores Russian leadership to a role held by Russian diplomats for nearly two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union (1993-2011).
Danish national and long-serving UN veteran Michael Moller has had the job since 2013.
In a statement, the UN described Valovaya as having "over 35 years of extensive experience in journalism, diplomacy and government service."

She currently works for the Eurasia Economic Commission, a regional body that includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, in charge of integration and macroeconomics.
She began her career as a journalist for "The Economic Gazette" in Moscow in the 1980s, before joining the diplomatic corps, serving as the Third and later Second Secretary at the Russian Permanent Mission to the European Union in Brussels, from 1989-94.
She served as the director of the department of international cooperation in Russia's government from 1999 to 2012, including under President Vladimir Putin.
Her nomination comes at a time when Russia is bolstering its influence within the UN in Geneva, filling some of the void left by Washington, which under President Donald Trump has increasingly disengaged.
The United States last year withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, accusing it of bias against Israel.
And it has yet to fill the position of ambassador to the world body's European headquarters, which has been left vacant since Barack Obama's envoy left more than two years ago.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 5:25 PM IST

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