Finnish diplomat, Antti Turunen, has been appointed as UN Representative for Georgia, replacing Johan Verbeke of Belgium.
“This is a prestigious appointment for Finland, as this is one of the highest UN posts currently held by a Finn. Ambassador Turunen is an accomplished diplomat whose skills were necessary in dealing with the Georgian crisis during our OSCE Chairmanship [in 2008],” Alexander Stubb, the foreign minister of Finland, said in a statement on March 1.
Before this appointment Turunen was Finland’s ambassador to OSCE since 2007.
Together with EU and OSCE representatives, in a capacity of UN Representative Turunen will co-chair Geneva talks.
He will be based in Geneva. Before the termination of UN Observation Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Georgia was based in Tbilisi, who also was head of UNOMIG.
In his new capacity, Turunen welcomed on March 1 reopening of the Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point between Russia and Georgia.
“There are still many years ahead before you can talk about normalization of the situation but it's a good thing if the border is opening up,” he told a briefing in Helsinki, Reuters reported.