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Chinese Selected to Lead UN Peacekeeping Force in W Sahara
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday appointed Major-General Zhao Jingmin as the new Force Commander for the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Maj.-Gen. Zhao succeeds Gen. Kurt Mosgaard of Denmark, who completed his tour of duty as Force Commander Monday, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.

It is the first time that the world body has had a Chinese national to head one of its missions.

Born in 1954, Maj.-Gen. Zhao has held senior posts in the Office of Peacekeeping Affairs in China's National Defence Ministry since October 2003, and he has previously served in MINURSO as a military observer from September 1991 to June 1992.

In 1996-97 he also served as a liaison officer with the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).

MINURSO has been in place since September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, which contest Western Sahara. In an April resolution, the Security Council called on the parties to enter into negotiations "without preconditions in good faith."

(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2007)

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