Ban announces Sigrid Kaag as special coordinator for mission in Syria

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday that Sigrid Kaag was appointed as the special coordinator for the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the U.N. in Syria.

The joint mission officially began on Wednesday and aims to destroy the stockpile of chemical weapons in Syria. Ban announced the decision to make Kaag the Special Coordinator at a news briefing at the U.N. Headquarters in New York. Ban said OPCW Director-General Ahmet uzumcu was also involved in the decision making.

"As Special Coordinator, [Kaag] will be responsible for overseeing all activities on the ground undertaken by the OPCW and United Nations personnel," Ban said. "She will work directly for me and the Director-General of the OPCW, and will be located in Cyprus, where the joint mission will have its staging area and support base."

Kaag, who currently serves as a representative of the U.N. Development Programme, will be responsible for organizing communication, medical, logistical and administrative support for OPCW inspectors in Syria. Kaag will also be responsible for organizing international assistance to help accomplish the mission.

Ban said the U.N. has not forgotten about the Syrian people and will aid the nation in reaching diplomacy and peace.

"While mobilizing to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons, the United Nations has not lost sight for one moment of the wider tragedy that is still destroying Syria," Ban said. "We are equally focused on reaching a political solution that will stop the appalling violence and suffering being inflicted on the Syrian people."

Ban asked the international community to focus on the Geneva II talks with Syria to help the nation move towards peace and democracy.

"We are calling on all who truly wish to work for peace and a new, democratic Syria to focus not on military actions but rather on ensuring the success of this conference," Ban said.