Graziano appointed new UN commander in Lebanon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has selected Major-General Claudio Graziano of Italy as the new commander of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, the United Nations announced Thursday. Graziano will succeed Major-General Alain Pellegrini of France who will relinquish the post on Feb. 17. UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said Ban sent a letter to the Security Council on Tuesday informing him of Graziano's selection. The council is expected to approve the appointment. Graziano, an infantry officer, is also a mountain warfare and ski instructor and is airborne and Ranger qualified. He has served in Mozambique and Afghanistan and has been deputy chief of staff for operations at Italy's Joint Operations Headquarters since March 2006.