PRETORIA-- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed South African lawyer Nicholas Haysom as his Special Representative for Somalia and head of the UN Assistance Mission in that strife-torn Horn of Africa country.

Guterres made the announcement on Sept 12, with the appointment effective from Oct 1. Haysom succeeds Michael Keating in those positions. Guterres said Briton Keating had displayed exemplary service and leadership.

Haysom is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes. In 2016, he was appointed the UN Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.

Prior to that, he served as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2014 to 2016 and was Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan from 2012 to 2014.

Between 2007 and 2012, he was the director of Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the UN Secretary-General's executive office. He had a two-year stint earlier as the Head of the Office of Constitutional Support for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq from 2005 to 2007.

In his earlier career, Haysom worked for the South African government as Chief Legal and Constitutional Adviser in the Office of the President from 1994 to 1999.

He was involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as chair of the committee negotiating constitutional issues from 1999 to 2002 under the facilitation of the late former President Nelson Mandela. He was the principal adviser to the mediator in the Sudanese Peace Process from 2002 to 2005, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation said in a statement here Wednesday.

The 66-year-old is married with five children and earned his law degree from the University of Natal and University of Cape Town in South Africa. In 2012, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Cape Town.