Sergio Vieria de Mello is the
newly appointed special UN
representative for Iraq

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has named Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello to the position one day after the Security Council approved a resolution giving its backing to the US-led administration.

The 55-year old human rights chief will retain his position with UNHCR, which he took up last year, and will also be responsible for leading the independent, yet limited role of the UN in Iraq.

De Mello was also Washington’s first choice for the job. Weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq, Vieira de Mello was summoned to the US capital to meet with President George W Bush and his national security advisor Condoleeza Rice.

The UN representative's job, set out in a US-drafted resolution, consists of "coordinating activities of the United Nations in post-conflict processes in Iraq."

De Mello's responsibilities also include working with the United States and Britain to coordinate humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, assist refugee returns, promote the protection of human rights and "facilitate a process leading to an internationally recognised representative government of Iraq."

During his four-month term, he will also have a seat on an international advisory board created to monitor Iraqi oil sales to fund reconstruction efforts.