Finance minister Sigrid Kaag to leave The Hague for UN Gaza post

Photo: ANP/Robin Utrecht

Sigrid Kaag announced on social media on Tuesday she will step down as caretaker finance minister in January to take up the role of United Nations envoy for the reconstruction of Gaza.

“Peace, security, and justice have always been my motivations, I have accepted this special assignment in the hope to contribute to a better future,” the veteran diplomat said her formal resignation letter to the king.

The 62-year-old announced in the summer she would leave Dutch politics, citing the impact on her family. She first joined the government as the minister for foreign Trade and development cooperation during prime minister Mark Rutte’s third cabinet.

Kaag has spent most of her career at the UN, first joining the organisation in 1994. She previously held the role of special coordinator for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons mission in Syria and special coordinator of the United Nations in Lebanon.

“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today announced the appointment of Ms Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands as Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza,” the UN said in a statement.

The new role was created by Resolution 2720, passed by the UN Security Council on Friday. The resolution includes an aid package for Gaza but controversially stopped short of calling for a ceasefire.

Kaag’s husband, Anis al-Qaq, is a former Palestinian Authority official. He retired in 2009.

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