A woman grinds millet in the presence of tanks in South Sudan. Photo: Andreea Campeanu/Reuters/Scanpix
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named Danish diplomat Ellen Margrethe Løj to head the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and act as his special representative.
Løj, who replaces Norway's Hilde Johnson, takes up the job amid a flare-up of fighting in South Sudan ignited by a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
A former ambassador to the Czech Republic, the United Nations and Israel, Løj also served as special envoy to Liberia from 2008 to 2012.
Løj told Ritzau that the South Sudan mission will be “the hardest job you could possibly take on.”
“The situation in South Sudan is very difficult. There are major humanitarian and development challenges,” she said. “It’s a country that needs to figure out how to stand on its own legs.”