NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has appointed Ambassador Maurits R. Jochems as the next NATO Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Jochems will replace Ambassador Simon Gass, who has served as the Senior Civilian Representative since April 2011. Ambassador Jochems will represent the Alliance’s political leadership in Kabul. He will work to support NATO’s goal of a sovereign, secure and democratic Afghanistan, as agreed most recently at the Chicago Summit.
This will mean practical coordination with the Afghan authorities on issues like transition and NATO’s post-2014 partnership with Afghanistan. It will also involve a close partnership with the ISAF Commander as well as the international community.
“Our mission in Afghanistan is in a very important phase and I look forward to helping to ensure that the transition goes smoothly,” said Ambassador Jochems. “I will also make it a priority to continue the good work in forging a close working partnership with the Government of Afghanistan and other actors. The success of our mission will be vital to secure a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. That is my goal.”
Ambassador Jochems, who is currently the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Estonia, is expected to take up his new post in October. He has extensive experience at NATO and previously served as NATO’s interim Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan in 2008. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Plans in the Operations Division of NATO’s International Secretariat, during which he was deployed to Pakistan to manage NATO’s disaster relief support to Pakistan during the earthquake in 2005.
“Ambassador Jochems brings with him an in-depth knowledge of Afghanistan and the wider region which will be of great benefit to our mission there,” said the Secretary General. “His appointment comes at a crucial time for ISAF as we continue to hand over more areas of security control to the Afghan National Security Forces.”
The Secretary General also praised the work of Ambassador Gass, who is returning to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office after 18 months as Senior Civilian Representative.
“Ambassador Gass has made a major contribution to ensuring the successful transition of security responsibility to the Afghan authorities as well as to the Chicago NATO Summit decisions on Afghanistan. I thank him warmly for his service.”