United Nations Deputy-Secretary General Jan Eliasson was my latest At Home feature shot for the Financial Times. Read the full article here.
UN deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson on Syria and Iran By Annie Maccoby Berglof
The Swedish diplomat focuses his attention on the plight of millions of Syrians displaced by war
Last December, when Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the UN, made a pit stop in Beirut to review regional fallout from the escalating Syrian crisis, 150,000 refugees had already streamed over the Syrian border into Lebanon. “The figure is now 760,000,” says Eliasson, talking from the sofa of his New York apartment.
While the spotlight is now on UN negotiations over the Russia-US brokered deal to disband Syria’s chemical weapons,Eliasson is also focusing attention on the humanitarian crisis: the plight of two million Syrians fleeing war into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
“There was a long period when many of us at the UN felt a deep frustration that the war went on … and we did not have a unified Security Council resolution to make it easier for Lakhdar Brahimi [the UN special envoy for Syria] to start the political process. Now that we have a growing unity on the need to safeguard and destroy these chemical weapons, the next step is humanitarian access and the beginning of political talks,” he says. “It’s critical.”