23 February 2005

Secretary-General Accepts Resignation of Ruud Lubbers

NEW YORK, 22 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on Sunday, 20 February, by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General has accepted the resignation of Ruud Lubbers as High Commissioner for Refugees.  He wants to take this opportunity to thank the High Commissioner for the devotion and the commitment he has shown to refugees and the office of the High Commissioner over the past four years.

However, the Secretary-General is convinced that it is in the best interest of UNHCR, its staff and the refugees it serves that the page be turned and a new chapter be started.

While the Secretary-General had accepted legal advice that the original allegations made against Mr. Lubbers could not be substantiated, the continuing controversy has made the High Commissioner’s position impossible.  He is, therefore, pleased that Mr. Lubbers has made this decision in the wider interest of UNHCR.

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