Rolf Ekéus was appointed OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities at the Eighth OSCE Ministerial Council on 28 November 2000 for a three-year term beginning on 1 July 2001. This was subsequently extended for another three years on 1 July 2004.
Ambassador Ekéus has had a long and distinguished career in the Swedish diplomatic service, serving his country in Bonn, Nairobi, New York, The Hague. He was also the Swedish Ambassador to the United States.
Ambassador Ekéus was active in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) during the period of post-Communist transition. He headed the Swedish delegation to the CSCE from 1988 to 1992 and played a key role in drafting the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (1990).
Arms control and disarmament have been recurrent themes in Mr. Ekéus' career. He is best known for his work as Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) where he led the weapons inspectors between 1991 and 1997. Previously he was Permanent Representative of Sweden to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva from 1983 to 1988 and Chairman of the CD's negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Convention from 1984 to 1987. He is still an active member of a number of advisory boards in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Ambassador Ekéus prepared two reports for the Swedish Government. The first is an analysis and assessment of Sweden's security policy during the Cold War. The second concerns the political and military handling of foreign submarine intrusions into Swedish territorial waters from 1980 to the present.