U.N. chief names East Timor's Ramos-Horta envoy to Guinea-Bissau

UNITED NATIONS Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:49pm EST

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers his speech during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers his speech during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva September 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday named Nobel Peace prize laureate and former president of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, as his special representative to Guinea-Bissau, a West African nation that has become a narcotics hub.

Ramos-Horta will assume the post once the current envoy in Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba of Rwanda, completes his term on January 31, 2013, the United Nations said in a statement.

Cocaine trafficking through drug hub Guinea-Bissau is spreading unabated amid turmoil sparked by an April military coup that has slashed the country's key cashew crop and almost halved its economic growth, the United Nations said in a report to the U.N. Security Council earlier this year.

Ramos-Horta survived an assassination attempt in 2008. He shared the Nobel prize in 1996 for working toward a peaceful solution to the East Timor conflict and his key role in the country's movement for independence from Indonesia.

Ramos-Horta was president of East Timor from 2007 to 2012. He lost a re-election bid earlier this year.

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; editing by Todd Eastham)

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