8 June - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed veteran staffer Youssef Mahmoud of Tunisia as the new head of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which is due to wrap up by the end of the year.

Mr. Mahmoud succeeds Victor da Silva Angelo of Portugal, who served as the Secretary-General's Special Representative from the mission's inception until the end of March this year.

The veteran UN staffer arrived in Chad on 21 March with a delegation tasked with holding discussions with Chadian authorities on the future of MINURCAT and had been serving as the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General since 1 April.

Before his arrival in Chad, Mr. Mahmoud served for three years as Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB). Prior to that, he was the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for the peacekeeping mission that preceded BINUB.

He has also held a number of senior positions within the Organization, including in New York, Guyana and Cambodia.

MINURCAT was established by the Council in September 2007 to help protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid to thousands of people uprooted due to insecurity in the two countries and neighbouring Sudan.

Last month the Council voted to end the mission by the end of this year, after the Chadian Government requested the move and said it would assume full responsibility for protecting civilians on its territory.

The 15-member body ordered that MINURCAT's military component be reduced from its current 3,300 troops to 2,200 military personnel – 1,900 in Chad and 300 in the CAR – by 15 July. Withdrawal of the remaining troops will begin on 15 October, and all military and civilian personnel are to be withdrawn by 31 December.