UN chief appoints British adviser as ME envoy

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon informed the Security Council Tuesday that he intends to appoint Michael C. Williams of Britain, who is currently a special adviser on the Middle East, as his top Mideast envoy. Williams, who was special adviser to British foreign secretaries Robin Cook and Jack Straw between 1999 and 2005, previously served as a senior UN official in peackeeping missions in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia. In a letter to US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the current council president, Ban said William would be the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and his personal representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. If the council approves, which is virtually certain, he will succeed Alvaro de Soto, who has retired.