UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday appointed former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov as his special envoy to Iraq, where security has deteriorated as Sunni Islamist groups step up an insurgency against the Shi'ite-led government.
More than 1,000 Iraqis - mainly civilians - were killed in sectarian violence in July, the highest monthly death toll since 2008, the United Nations said on Thursday.
Ban said on Monday that he was alarmed by the increased violence in Iraq that was "aimed at ripping apart the country's social fabric." He said Iraq was at another crossroads.
"Its political leaders have a clear responsibility to bring the country back from the brink, and to leave no space to those who seek to exploit the political stalemate through violence and terror," Ban said in a statement.
Mladenov, who was Bulgaria's foreign affairs minister from 2010 to 2013, replaces former German diplomat Martin Kobler, who has been has been appointed Ban's special envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Eric Walsh)