UN Chief Guterres appoints James Swan as acting special representative to Somalia

Wednesday May 15 2024

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference in Amman, Jordan on March 25, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed James Christopher Swan as his acting special representative for Somalia and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

Swan will act as special representative "for a temporary period following the departure of Catriona Laing of the United Kingdom, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedicated service in UNSOM and Somalia at a challenging time," the UN said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"Swan is an experienced diplomat with a long career in African countries facing complex political transitions," the statement said.

"Most recently, he served as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM from 2019 to 2022."

Swan, an American citizen, served as US ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2013 to 2016, US special representative for Somalia from 2011 to 2013, and US envoy to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011.

The appointment of Swan as Guterres' acting special representative came after Somalia's formal request that the UN terminate the mandate of UNSOM in the country.


Read: Somalia requests UN to end political mission

Somalian Foreign Minister Ahmed Moalin Fiqi, in a letter dated May 5, said the Somali government will no longer request a mandate renewal of UN Security Council Resolution 2705, which extended the mandate of UNSOM until October 31.

"We are confident that the achievements and lessons learned during the mission's presence will continue to guide our efforts towards sustaining peace and prosperity," he said in the letter, which was addressed to the current president of the UN Security Council.