British diplomat Valerie Amos to be new UN aid chief

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon  yesterday made British envoy to Australia Valerie Amos his new  aid chief, replacing fellow Briton John Holmes, who coordinated  relief efforts after Haiti’s earthquake in January.  

Baroness Amos, Britain’s first black cabinet minister,  became High Commissioner (ambassador) to Australia after  holding a variety of government posts. She served under former  prime minister Tony Blair from 2003-2007.  

As the world body’s new head of the high-profile Office for  the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), she will  manage fund-raising and delivery of emergency food and supplies  to disaster-stricken areas.  
The departure of Holmes, a former British ambassador to  France, had been public knowledge for months. He will join  England’s Ditchley Foundation in September as its director, the  conference center near Oxford announced in February. 
 
Holmes has been U.N. aid chief since 2007. He has traveled  widely, including to conflict zones, and has been noted for his  frank comments, including a leaked email to other U.N.  officials criticizing aspects of the Haiti aid effort.  

The major powers are covetous of top jobs at the United  Nations. The current head of the political department is an  American and the head of peacekeeping is French.  

Ban also announced yesterday he was appointing Yuri  Fedotov, the current Russian ambassador to Britain, to the post  of executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime,  based in Vienna.  

Fedotov, a former Russian deputy foreign minister, has in  the past been attached to Moscow’s U.N. mission in New York. He  replaces Antonio Maria Costa of Italy, a long-time U.N  diplomat.

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