UN mourns ex-chief Kofi Annan as ‘guiding force for good’

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UNITED NATIONS,Aug 19 (APP):The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a charismatic Ghanian diplomat, who passed away peacefully after a short illness, according to a statement published on his official Twitter account on Saturday.
He was 80 years old.
Annan died in a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday with his wife, Nane, and three children Ama, Kojo and Nina, by his side. He had retired to Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village.
Annan’s foundation issued a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday that described him as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world.”
The statement added that Annan, who succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali as UN leader, was a “son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa”.
The Ghanaian diplomat was the seventh secretary general of the UN and served for two terms between 1997 and 2006. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his humanitarian work jointly with the UN as an organization in 2001.
The current UN chief, Antonio Guterres hailed him as “a guiding force for good” and a “proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”
“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership. He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom – and I know I was not alone,” Guterres said in a statement.
“He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world. In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter. His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all us.”
Kofi Annan was born in Kamasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938.
He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva, rising through the ranks to hold senior-level posts in areas such as budget and finance, and peacekeeping.
After leaving his high-profile UN perch, Annan did not let up. In 2007, his Geneva-based foundation was created. That year he helped broker peace in Kenya, where election violence had killed over 1,000 people.
He also joined The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, eventually succeeding Desmond Tutu as its chairman after a failed interlude trying to resolve Syria’s rising civil war.
As special envoy to Syria in 2012, Annan won international backing for a six-point plan for peace. The UN deployed a 300-member observer force to monitor a cease-fire, but peace never took hold and Annan was unable to surmount the bitter stalemate among Security Council powers. He resigned in frustration seven months into the job, as the civil war raged on.
Annan continued to crisscross the globe. In 2017, his foundation’s biggest projects included promotion of fair, peaceful elections; work with Myanmar’s government to improve life in troubled Rakhine state; and battling violent extremism by enlisting young people to help.
He also remained a vocal commentator on troubles like the refugee crisis; promoted good governance, anti-corruption measures and sustainable agriculture in Africa; and pushed efforts in the fight against illegal drug trafficking.