The United Nations on Wednesday named Russian diplomat Vladimir Voronkov as its new undersecretary general for counterterrorism, the first new senior executive office created at the international body in decades.
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who made the appointment, said that Voronkov would “provide strategic leadership to . . . counterterrorism efforts” and participate in the decision-making process across U.N. bodies.
Russia had a virtual lock on the position, as the only permanent member of the Security Council — the others are the United States, France, Britain and China — without one of its nationals holding a top U.N. position.
Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, who is about to leave Washington after serving here since 2008, had expressed interest in the job. Although the Russian government had made informal soundings on him, it did not formally propose him for the job.
Kislyak, who met with a number of officials in now-President Trump’s campaign and transition, has become a central figure in the investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible coordination with Trump officials. He accompanied Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to a White House meeting with Trump last month.
The appointment of his replacement as ambassador, Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov, was due to be officially conveyed to Trump at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin early next month at the Group of 20 gathering in Germany. A Putin spokesman said Wednesday that the meeting — about which both presidents have previously spoken — has not yet been scheduled.
Voronkov currently serves as Russian ambassador to international organizations headquartered in Vienna, and he serves on the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He began his career with the Russian foreign service in 1989 and has served in various capacities since then, although none of them directly related to terrorism.
Previously, the U.N. counterterrorism job came under the undersecretary for political affairs, a position currently held by former U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Feltman.