Norwegian Major-General new UN chief in the Middle East

By Berit Hessen
Norwegian American Weekly
Major General Robert Mood, newly appointed head of the UN peacekeeping operation in the Middle East.

Major General Robert Mood, newly appointed head of the UN peacekeeping operation in the Middle East. Photo: Norwegian Armed Forces.

On Jan. 13, Ban Ki-moon, United Nation’s Secretary-General, appointed Major-General Robert Mood of Norway Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), which is based in Jerusalem.

“The United Nations does an important job in this region, and I’m honored to be chosen for the position. It’s a statement of confidence from the UN to both me and Norway,” said the Major-General.

Set up in 1948, UNTSO was the first peacekeeping operation established by the UN. UNTSO has 151 military observers stationed in the Middle East. The organization monitor ceasefires, supervise truce agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, as well as assist other UN peacekeeping operations in the territory. In Jerusalem, the highly respected Norwegian General will be responsible for UN forces from 23 countries, including the U.S. and Russia.

Major-General Mood (50) who was born in Kragerø, Telemark joined the Norwegian Army in 1978. During his career he has held posts as executive and later commanding officer of the well-known Telemark Battalion, and as chief of the operations of the Joint Staff at Headquarters, Defense Command Norway. He has served as Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Army since 2005. He has previously served in Lebanon and Kosovo. Mood is a graduate of the Norwegian Army Staff College, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting and the NATO Defense College. He received a master’s degree in military studies from the Marine Corps University. His decorations include the United Nations Interim Force Medal, the NATO Medal and the French Order of Merit.

Mood is also renowned for being an outspoken advocate for increasing the number of women in the Defense Force, in both Norway and international operations.

“Major-General Robert Mood is the most competent and experienced General we have,” expressed Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, Norwegian Minister of Defense. She said it’s significant for Norway to have Norwegians in positions like this.

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