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Swing Keeps U.N. Post for Now

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 5, 2005; Page A13

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 -- William Lacy Swing, the top U.N. representative in Congo, will remain in his job to help usher the country through a delicate political transition in the face of growing violence, but U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Friday that he will begin searching for Swing's replacement once the situation becomes more stable.

The decision followed a meeting between Annan and Swing that touched on the violence in Congo that has left nine U.N. peacekeepers dead, a sexual abuse scandal in the mission and "Swing's own future," a statement from Annan's office said.

U.S. and U.N. officials said earlier this week that Swing, a former U.S. ambassador, was set to resign amid concerns he had failed to move forcefully enough to contain the sexual abuse scandal. Assistant Secretary of State Kim Holmes had included a reference to Swing's resignation in an early draft of an address to a congressional committee looking into sexual abuse by U.N. personnel in Congo, according to a senior U.N. official who saw the draft.

Annan decided Friday that "this was not the moment for a sudden change . . . with the disruption it would cause," his office's statement said. But it added that Annan "would initiate an orderly transition" to a new mission chief when the situation stabilizes.


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