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Norwegian diplomat appointed UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

‘I am pleased that the UN Secretary-General has given one of our most experienced diplomats, Tor Wennesland, the task of leading and coordinating UN efforts relating to the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Tor Wennesland together with Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and Prime Minister  Netanyahu.
Tor Wennesland together with Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Credit: Guri Solberg, MFA

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been high on the agenda of both the UN General Assembly and the Security Council since the state of Israel was established in 1948. One of the key tasks of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process is to brief the Security Council. The special coordinator is the personal representative of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), and the Secretary-General’s envoy in the Middle East Quartet.

Mr Wennesland will be based at the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) in Jerusalem. UNSCO also has offices in Ramallah and Gaza.

‘With his many years of experience from the region and his extensive contact network, Mr Wennesland is in a good position to make a valuable contribution to the global community’s efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict. I look forward to continuing our excellent cooperation with him when Norway becomes a member of the UN Security Council on 1 January,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

Tor Wennesland is Norway’s Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process, including the responsibility for Norway’s chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) for Palestine. He has extensive experience from the Middle East going back to 1994 when he was advisor on the Middle East Desk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the process leading to the Oslo II Agreement. He worked for Quartet Representative Tony Blair in 2006-2007. Mr Wennesland was Norway’s Representative to the Palestinian Authority from 2007-2011 and Norway’s Ambassador to Egypt and Libya from 2012-2015. From 1993-1995 Mr Wennesland was the Secretary General of the European Movement of Norway.

Mr Wennesland will succeed Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria as Special Coordinator. 

Tor Wennesland in Cairo.
Tor Wennesland in Cairo. Credit: Guri Solberg, UD
Tor Wennesland meets with the Palestinian Prime Minister  Mohammad Shtayyeh.
Tor Wennesland meets with the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. Credit: Prime Minister’s Office, APA Images