Kaag previously served as Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and is considered an expert on Middle East affairs. Kaag is fluent in Arabic, among five other languages, and has also worked with Queen Rania of Jordan in the past.
Following her appointment to her new position, Guterres stated that Kaag “has significant experience in political, humanitarian and development affairs as well as in diplomacy. She will facilitate, coordinate, monitor and verify humanitarian relief shipments to Gaza.” According to Guterres, the CAG will also create a mechanism to expedite aid shipments “through countries that are not party to the conflict.”
Kaag (61 years old) is married to Anis Al-Qaq, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority who served as Deputy Prime Minister in Yasser Arafat’s government and the Palestinian ambassador to Switzerland, and she has a controversial history with Israel. In the past, she clashed with then-Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte over policies that she considered too friendly toward Israel.
Kaag has previously won praise for her role in disarming Syria's chemical weapons, which the country agreed to dismantle in 2013. For nine months, she led the mission of international inspectors responsible for destroying chemicals that Damascus recognized as being transferred between the two countries. The Middle East and Europe, and maintaining relations with Moscow, Washington and various military powers.
Kaag's work in Syria was praised by diplomats, and she gained respect in Damascus, where some called her the “Iron Lady.”
A Syrian official said about her at the time: “She never stops working, and practically never sleeps.”
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”