Death of former High Commissioner Thorvald Stoltenberg


Former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Thorvald Stoltenberg passed away in Oslo on Friday.

“Thorvald Stoltenberg was a peacemaker, a humanitarian and an internationalist,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “During his illustrious career as a statesman and diplomat he made an outstanding contribution to peace.”

In 1990 Stoltenberg became UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At UNHCR, he oversaw several ongoing repatriation operations, particularly in Central America. He resigned in November 1990 to return to his previous position as Norwegian foreign minister. In May 1993, at the height of the Bosnian war, he returned to the United Nations as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the Former Yugoslavia.

Stoltenberg was the father of Nato Secretary General and former prime minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg.

He is a Norwegian politician. He served as Minister of Defence (1979–81) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1987–1989 and 1990–1993) in two Labour governments.

From 1989 to 1990 he was appointed Norwegian Ambassador to the UN. In 1990 he became the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but served only one year before rejoining the Norwegian government. In 1992, Thorvald Stoltenberg, together with nine Baltic Ministers of Foreign Affairs and an EU commissioner, founded the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the EuroFaculty.

In 1993 appointed Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the former Yugoslavia and UN Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia. Thorvald Stoltenberg was also the UN witness at the signing of Erdut Agreement.

In 2003 he was appointed Chairman of the Board of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). Between 1999 and 2008 he was President of the Norwegian Red Cross, the only president to serve three terms. He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission, and holds a seat on their Executive Committee.

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