Security Council approves Michael Lollesgaard as new head of Yemen observer mission

Danish former general will replace Patrick Cammaert in overseeing uneasy truce in Hodeidah

17 June 2015. Major General Michael Lollesgaard, Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), briefs the Security Council at its meeting on UN peacekeeping operations. UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Powered by automated translation

The UN Security Council has endorsed the appointment of Danish former general Michael Lollesgaard as new head of the UN observer mission in Yemen.

Mr Lollesgaard will take over from Patrick Cammaert of the Netherlands, another former general who has been leading the UN oversight of a ceasefire in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah that went into effect a little over a month ago.

The Houthis have boycotted meetings with Mr Cammaert as he sought to bring rebel and government representatives together to implement the peace deal. A vehicle in his convoy was shot at last week. No injuries were reported but the Yemeni government blamed the Houthis for the attack.

Western diplomats said Mr Cammaert’s appointment was always intended to be temporary, insisting that his replacement by Mr Lollesgaard was not a reflection of the Dutch former general’s performance as head of the UN monitoring mission.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres informed the Security Council on Monday that he planned to appoint Mr Lollesgaard to the post and gave the council 48 hours to raise objections.

No objections were raised before the Wednesday deadline, diplomats told AFP.

Earlier this month, the council approved the deployment for six months of up to 75 monitors to Yemen to shore up the fragile ceasefire and oversee a pullback of all forces from Hodeidah city and its ports.

Hodeidah is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen's supplies of imported goods and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions on the brink of starvation.

The UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is due to brief the council behind closed doors on Thursday on his efforts to push the Yemeni government, which is supported by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels to abide by the ceasefire deal agreed at talks in Sweden last month.

Mr Lollesgaard commanded the UN peacekeeping force in Mali from 2015 to 2016, and was appointed Denmark's military representative to Nato and the European Union in 2017.