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UN envoy in Sudan to leave post at end of next month

19 January 2010 – The top United Nations envoy in Sudan has announced he will step down from the post at the end of next month after more than two years in the African nation.

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), issued a statement yesterday announcing the end of his tenure. A successor will be named soon.

The former Pakistani ambassador has served as head of UNMIS since late 2007 and before that had been the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq.

In a statement a spokesperson for UNMIS said Mr. Qazi was stepping down “after more than two years of a challenging but fulfilling and productive assignment.”

The statement noted that Mr. Qazi was leaving at a time when the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running north-south civil war in early 2005, was “firmly moving forward towards elections and the referendum.”

National elections are scheduled to take place in April and a referendum is expected to be held next year to determine whether the south secedes or remains as part of Sudan.

UNMIS added that its “support and technical expertise have played a vital role in keeping the agreement on track thanks to Mr. Qazi’s leadership that kept the mission focused on the mandate.”

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