Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Lisa Buttenheim of the United States as his Special Representative and top United Nations official in Cyprus, where UN-backed talks are being held in a bid to reunify the island.
“Ms. Buttenheim brings to the position extensive experience with the United Nations in the political and peacekeeping areas,” the Secretary-General's spokesperson Marie Okabe told journalists today in New York.
Since January 2009, she has served as Director of the Middle East and West Asia Division in the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) in the world body's Secretariat in New York.
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Buttenheim headed the Department's Asia and Pacific Division and the Asia and Middle East Division.
In addition to posts in New York, Ms. Buttenheim served as the Director and Head of the United Nations Office in Belgrade, and has had multiple high-level UN posts in Geneva, Kosovo and Jerusalem since joining the Organization in 1983, including with the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).
Ms. Buttenheim will now serve as the Secretary-General's Special Representative and Head of the UN peacekeeping mission known as UNFICYP, which has been stationed in Cyprus since 1964 after an outbreak of inter-communal violence.
Ms. Buttenheim succeeds Tayé-Brook Zerihoun of Ethiopia, who was appointed in April to serve as the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs for the Secretariat in New York.
UN-backed talks continue between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders as part of efforts to try to reunify the island.