Atul Khare, senior India-born diplomat with the United Nations, has been appointed as Secretary General's Special Representative for Timor.
An official of the Indian Foreign Service before joining the UN, Khare's appointment assumes significance as it comes ahead of next year's Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Timor, which has witnessed violence recently due to differences between eastern and western regions of the country.
The UN Security Council in August created the expanded UN integrated mission in Timor to help restore order in the country, which witnessed large-scale violence after independence from Indonesia in 2002.
Crisis in Timor erupted after the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the country's armed forces. The ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drove over 1.5 lakh people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.
57-year-old Khare has served with the UN mission of support in East Timor from June 2002 till its completion in May 2005, first as chief of staff and later as Secretary General Kofi Annan's deputy special representative.
Earlier, while serving with the Indian government, he had held some key positions like deputy high commissioner to Mauritius, counseller at India's UN Mission and Charge d'Affaires in Senegal where he was also accredited to Mali, Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. He had also held the posts of chef de cabinet of the foreign secretary in New Delhi and director (UN) in external affairs ministry