Ambassador Francesco Vendrell served in several positions in the United Nations over his 34-year career, specializing in Central America and working extensively with Secretary-Generals Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Notable posts include: Deputy Representative of the Secretary-General in the Nicaraguan peace negotiations in 1987; the Secretary-General's Deputy Representative in the El Salvador peace process in 1988; and Envoy of the Secretary-General to Cuba on human rights related issues in 1989. That same year, Mr. Vendrell was appointed as the Secretary-General's Deputy Personal Representative for the Peace Process in Central Americas, and in 1990 he served as the Secretary-General's Representative in the Guatemala peace negotiations.
Mr. Vendrell served as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy to several other missions: including on disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as Senior Political Adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti from 1992 to 1993, Special Envoy for Papua New Guinea from 1994 to 1998, and for Cambodia from 1997 to 1998. From 1993 to 2000, he served as the Director of the Asia and the Pacific Division of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs. In 2000, he was the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA).
The concept of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General was developed by Mr. Alvaro de Soto, with the help of Mr. Vendrell. The Group of Friends consists of several Member States who work closely with the Secretary-General to move peace negotiations along. In the interview, conducted on 18 April 1996, Mr. Vendrell discussed this Group and evaluated how the Group of Friends of El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti propagated peace process. He touched upon commissions established to investigate human rights violations in those countries during times of war.