By Victor Asije
The UN Secretary-General, Mr Antonio António Guterres, on Saturday described late former UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan as a epitome of the United Nations.
Kofi Annan, the second African Secretary-General of the UN reportedly died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland in the early hours of Saturday. Annan took over from another African Egyptian Boutrous Boutrous Ghali in January 1997.
The UN Chief said that Annan was the United Nations, who rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with dignity and determination.
“Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good. It is with profound sadness that I learned of his passing.
“ In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.
“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,’’ he said.
The UN Chief added that the late Kofi Annan was his friend and mentor, who provided people with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world.
Mr Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly, also described Kofi Annan as one of the world’s most respected diplomats, a statesman and a visionary champion for multilateralism.
Lajčák also said that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was a strong believer in dialogue and a deeply committed defender of peace, development and human rights.
“He dedicated his life to making the world a better, more peaceful, and just place for all people. And in many ways, he is a symbol for the shared values of the United Nations.
“Until today, I admire his wise and steadfast leadership, acumen and charisma.
“I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends, the people of Ghana and Africa, and all who mourn the loss of this remarkable man.
“Let us continue to be inspired by his lifelong example,’’ he said.
Kofi Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006.
Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organization founded by Nelson Mandela.
Born in Kumasi, Annan went on to study economics at Macalester College, international relations from the Graduate Institute, Geneva , and management at MIT.
Annan joined the UN in 1962, working at the World Health Organization’s Geneva office. He went on to work in several capacities at the UN Headquarters, including serving as the Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping between March 1992 and December 1996.
He was appointed Secretary-General on Dec. 13, 1996 by the Security Council, and later confirmed by the
General Assembly, making him the first office holder to be elected from the UN staff itself.
He was re-elected for a second term in 2001, and was succeeded as Secretary-General by Ban Ki-moon on Jan. 1, 2007.
As the Secretary-General, Annan reformed the UN bureaucracy, worked to combat HIV, especially in Africa, and inaugurated the UN Global Compact.
He was criticized for not expanding the Security Council and faced calls for resignation after an investigation into the Oil-for-Food Programme.
After leaving the UN, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation in 2007, to work on international development.
In 2012, Annan was the UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria, to help find a resolution to the ongoing conflict there.
Annan quit after becoming frustrated with the UN’s lack of progress with regard to conflict resolution.
In September 2016, Annan was appointed to lead a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya crisis.
Kofi Annan died on Saturday morning of Aug. 18, 2018 at a hospital in Switzerland, following a short illness.