Norwegian diplomat Geir O. Pedersen to be UN Special Envoy for Syria

‘I am very pleased that the UN Secretary-General has given one of our foremost diplomats the important task of leading the UN’s efforts in forging an inclusive and peaceful political solution in Syria,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The conflict in Syria, which began in 2011, has caused immense suffering and widespread devastation. Several hundred thousand people have been killed and millions have been forced to flee their homes. The conflict has also created major challenges for Syria’s neighbouring countries.  

Read more: Announcement from the United Nations on new Special Envoy for Syria.

‘Finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria is one of the most difficult tasks facing the UN. It is now vital that the international community, including the members of the Security Council, support the UN’s efforts and help to find a solution to a conflict that has been allowed to continue for far too long,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said. 

Read more on Geir O. Pedersen's background.

Until Mr Pedersen takes over, the present Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura will continue his efforts to achieve progress in the political negotiations. This includes establishing a Constitutional Committee for Syria.  

‘Mr Pedersen is a very experienced diplomat, who knows both Syria and the region well. I wish him every success in his new role. Norway will do all it can to support him and the UN in their efforts in Syria,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said. 

Norway has been a close supporter of the present UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, for several years. Norway is also a strong proponent of inclusive political processes, and supported the establishment of the Civil Society Support Room and the Women’s Advisory Board. 

Mr Pedersen has broad experience from the Middle East. From 2003 to 2008, he worked for the UN, among other things as UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon. He was a member of the Norwegian team that led the Oslo Process and has been Norway’s Representative to the Palestinian Authority. From 2008 to 2012, Mr Pedersen was Director General of the Department for UN and Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was in charge of Norway’s peace and reconciliation efforts. From 2012 to 2017, he served as Norway’s Ambassador to the UN in New York. He has been Norway’s Ambassador to China since September 2017.