The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, announced on Friday that he has appointed Alexander Ivanko of the Russian Federation as the new Special Representative for Western Sahara and head of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Alexander Ivanko succeeds the Canadian Colin Stewart.
Having served as MINURSO’s chief of staff since 2009, Mr. Ivanko has more than 30 years of experience in international affairs, peacekeeping and journalism, according to a UN statement.
He previously served as Director of Public Information for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (2006-2009) and as UN Spokesperson in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994-1998).
Mr Ivanko began his career in journalism, working as a correspondent in Afghanistan and the US for a Russian newspaper.
He was also Senior Advisor to the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (1998-2005).
He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Moscow State University and he is fluent in Russian and English.