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General News of Saturday, 18 August 2018


The UK Guardian: Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, dies

Kofi Annan served as seventh secretary general of United Nations between 1997 and 2006 Kofi Annan served as seventh secretary general of United Nations between 1997 and 2006

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, has died at the age of 80 after a short illness, his family and foundation announced on Saturday.

The Ghanaian was the seventh secretary general of the UN who served for two terms between 1997 and 2006 and won the Nobel peace prize for his humanitarian work jointly.

He died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland with his wife, Nane, and three children Ama, Kojo and Nina, by his side. He retired to Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village.

Annan’s foundation issued a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday morning 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 former UK prime minister Tony Blair said on Twitter he was shocked and distressed by Annan’s death, adding: “He was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago. Kofi Annan was a great diplomat, a true statesman and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy go Nane and his family.”

Born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 8 April 1938, he was the first secretary general to emerge from the ranks of UN staff.

He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva. Annan later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force in Ismailia, the UN high commissioner for refugees in Geneva and in several senior posts at its headquarters in New York.

Before becoming secretary general, he was under-secretary general for peacekeeping and also served as special representative of the secretary general to the former Yugoslavia between 1995 and 1996.

Annan used his final speech as secretary general in December 2006 to deliver a parting shot at the administration of George W Bush, accusing the US of committing human rights abuses in the name of fighting terror.

The Guardian concluded at the time that the speech amounted to a broad condemnation of the neoconservative ideology guiding US foreign policy under Bush and was a clear break with protocol for a departing UN chief.

It was another sign of Annan’s anger at the administration since US forces invaded Iraq in March 2003 without the approval of the UN security council.

“When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose – for broadly shared aims in accordance with broadly accepted norms,” he said in the speech delivered at the Harry Truman presidential library in Independence, Missouri.

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