UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, Alain Le Roy of France, will step down from his post after his term expires in August, the United Nations said on Monday.
U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "deeply regrets" Le Roy's decision not to remain the head of U.N. peacekeeping but "fully understands the family reasons behind Mr. Le Roy's decision."
Le Roy has been head of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations for three years and has overseen U.N. troops' involvement in crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Sudan, Ivory Coast and elsewhere.
"Le Roy has met all these operational challenges with great skill and dedication, which resulted in important achievements on the ground," Haq said.
"At the same time, he has worked constantly and successfully with member states and other partners to make United Nations peacekeeping ever more effective and efficient," he said.
A spokesman for the peacekeeping unit said that Le Roy "expressed his wish to devote more time to his family and will be returning to France at the end of his current mandate."
Ban will seek a replacement for Le Roy, Haq said. U.N. diplomats have told Reuters that France is determined to hold onto the post, which is one of the most high-profile in the U.N. system.
U.N. officials say that Ban plans to replace some of his senior officials in the wake of his re-election last week to a second five-year term at the helm of the world body.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; editing by Philip Barbara)