“Madam President, Liberia is blessed to have you as its leader because the country has changed its space and status under your able leadership,” the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), Farid Zarif, has observed.
“You have had such remarkable achievements since assuming power and your legacy is unmatched by any of your predecessors,” SRSG Zarif further pointed out.
He made the observation Monday during a courtesy call he paid on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her temporary office at the Foreign Ministry shortly upon arrival in the country.
He promised to play a role in strengthening the Liberian leader’s success legacy and to serve the Liberian people through his support for the President and her Government by supporting her to serve well as an extension of his service to the country and its people.
He emphasized that he sees his new appointment as an opportunity to support and work with the Liberian people through their government.
He recalled that he was in Liberia in 1993 as chief of elections of the United Nations Mission and is very excited to be back.
Mr. Zarif of Afghanistan was appointed as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Liberia and Head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on August 12, 2015.
He succeeds Karin Landgren of Sweden, who completed her assignment in July 2015.
Until his assignment, Mr. Zarif was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Kosovo and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
He has extensive experience in diplomatic, international and United Nations affairs.
During his diplomatic service, he served in various positions inside and outside Afghanistan, including as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York (1981-1987), Deputy Foreign Minister (1987-1989) and Presidential Adviser on International Affairs (1989-1991).
Mr. Zarif, who joined the United Nations in 1993, has also served at the UN Headquarters in New York as well as in political, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in Eritrea, Liberia, South Africa, Iraq and Sudan in various capacities, including Chief of Section, Director of Division, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator and Chief of Staff.
He served as Director of the European and Latin America Division in the Office of Operations, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (2010-2011).
Mr. Zarif, who was born in 1951, graduated from Kabul University's Faculty of Law and Political Science in 1973.
After graduating with honors from the Afghan Institute of Diplomacy, he studied international relations and diplomacy at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.