OTTAWA - The federal government has named former Quebec premier Jean Charest as a special envoy to help Canada secure a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council.

A Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman said Friday that Charest had already visited the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait in his new role.

Angela Savard said the former premier met with "high-level representatives" in those countries, "in order to discuss and to make progress on Canada's priorities."

Charest knows the states of the Persian Gulf well, having been named last year as co-chair of the Canada-UAE Business Council, an industry group working to promote commercial ties between the two countries.

The special envoy job doesn't come with a salary but Charest is eligible to have his mission-related expenses covered, Savard said.

Charest is close to Canada's ambassador to the UN, Marc-Andre Blanchard, who is helping to co-ordinate Canadian efforts to win the prized security council seat.