President Bush announced Friday that he's appointed one of his former White House advisers to be a special envoy on human rights in North Korea (search).
Jay Lefkowitz's (search) appointment comes 10 days before six-nation talks aimed at persuading North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons program are scheduled to resume.
The chief U.S. envoy at the talks, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, has said they also should deal with human rights abuses (search) in North Korea and other issues.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Lefkowitz will work to improve human rights for the "long-suffering North Korean people."
"Mr. Lefkowitz is a devoted public servant, and his appointment will greatly enhance our efforts to encourage North Korea to accept and abide by internationally accepted human rights standards and norms," Perino said in a statement.
Lefkowitz is a former domestic policy adviser to Bush and served as part of the U.S. delegations to the U.N. Rights Commission and the International Conference on Anti-Semitism sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
He has a bachelor's degree from Columbia College and a law degree from Columbia University.
Delegates from North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea held 13 days of sessions in Beijing, but left for a three-week recess on Aug. 7 after failing to agree. The talks are scheduled to restart the week of Aug. 29.