Top UN anti-terrorism post goes to Russian

United Nations, New York. In a surprise move the United Nations has announced they intend to name a Russian as head of global anti-terrorism efforts.

The United Nations chief Antonio Guterres is set to appoint a Moscow envoy in Vienna to head a newly created UN Office of Counterterrorism, officials and diplomats said on Wednesday, giving a Russian a top job at UN headquarters in New York. The appointment comes not only as a surprise to American intelligence, but also a insult according to sources close to the Director of National Intelligence.

Currently an American heads UN political affairs, a French man has run peacekeeping, a British national has been in charge of humanitarian affairs, and a Chinese national has run economic and social affairs. For the past seven years a Russian has headed the Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Russian Ambassador to International Organisations in Vienna, Vladimir Voronkov, told Reuters he met with Guterres on Tuesday. An announcement on the appointment is expected this week, officials and diplomats said.

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly approved the creation of a UN Office on Counterterrorism last week, which will help states implement a global counterterrorism strategy adopted by the General Assembly in 2006.

“Countering terrorism is one of the things that most countries can work with Russia on,” said a senior Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have very different views on what counts as a terrorist and what counts as an appropriate response to terrorism from Russia, but at least it’s a discussion we can have more easily than we can have on political affairs or peacekeeping,” the diplomat said.

Nationals from four of the five veto-wielding powers on the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France and China – have for the past decade held senior UN posts at the world body’s headquarters in New York.