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Jagland re-elected as Council of Europe head

The Council of Europe said that Thorbjoern Jagland had been elected to a second five-year term at the head of the pan-European body that has recently played an active role in the Ukraine crisis.

STRASBOURG, France: The Council of Europe said on Tuesday that Thorbjoern Jagland had been elected to a second five-year term at the head of the pan-European body that has recently played an active role in the Ukraine crisis.

Jagland, a 63-year-old Norwegian, beat off competition from former German justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger to win another mandate at the head of the rights body.

It is the first time since the Council of Europe was established in 1949 that a secretary general has been re-elected.

Jagland has played an active role in trying to ease the crisis in Ukraine, making several visits to Kiev as the unrest threatened to spiral into all-out war in Europe.

Aside from running the Council of Europe, Jagland also heads Norway's Nobel committee which hands out its famous prizes each year.

He is also a former leader of Norway's ruling Labour Party who has served as prime minister, foreign minister and speaker of parliament in his country.

The Council of Europe - not to be confused with the 28-country European Union (EU) - brings together 47 countries with a combined population of more than 800 million and has as its principle mission to defend human rights in its ranks.

In addition to the 28 EU countries, it counts Turkey and Russia as members.

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