Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Albert Gerard Koenders of the Netherlands as the head of the recently approved United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali.Mr. Koenders will serve as Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in the country and will lead the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA), which is tasked with supporting the political process in the country, in close coordination with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).The Mission will help the Malian authorities to implement the transitional roadmap towards the full restoration of constitutional order, democratic governance and national unity. This includes the holding of elections in July, confidence-building and facilitation of reconciliation at the national and local levels.Mr. Koenders has been the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) since October 2011. To fill Mr. Koenders’ post in Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Ban is appointing Aichatou Mindaoudou Souleymane of Niger, who has been serving as Deputy Joint Special Representative in the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).Also today, Mr. Ban announced that Haile Menkerios of South Africa will be his new Special Representative and Head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU). Mr. Menkerios will also continue his current assignment as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.Mr. Menkerios will replace Zachary Muburi-Muita, to whom Mr. Ban is grateful for his dedicated service with UNOAU since its establishment in 2010 and for deepening the African Union-UN strategic partnership.Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz of Brazil was also appointed today by Mr. Ban as Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).Lieutenant General Santos Cruz succeeds Lieutenant General Chander Prakash Wadhwa of India, who completed his assignment on 31 March. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated and effective service during his tenure of over two years in MONUSCO. read more