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Ex-Labour minister given top UN job

A former Labour cabinet minister has been appointed to a top job at the United Nations.

Baroness (Valerie) Amos is to become Under Secretary-General in charge of the Office of the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

She spent four years in Tony Blair's cabinet between 2003 and 2007, first as leader of the Lords and then as international development secretary.

Currently the British high commissioner to Australia, she will take over at the UN from fellow Briton Sir John Holmes.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said Baroness Amos would bring "a vast amount of expertise, commitment and energy" to the role of emergency relief co-ordinator.

"It is crucial that we continue to build strong and effective leadership in our international organisations and I am therefore pleased that the UK is continuing to play such a key role in this important UN body," Mr Hague said.

"The Office of the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs is at the forefront of the UN's efforts to tackle some of the most traumatic challenges around the world.

"It is one of the most visible and high profile ways in which we see the very positive contribution the UN makes."

Baroness Amos said: "I am looking forward to working with colleagues in the UN and elsewhere."

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