Tributes pour in for former UN chief Kofi Annan

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Madrid, Aug 18 (IANS) Tributes to former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Prize Laureate Kofi Annan started to pour following the announcement of his death on Saturday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres lamented the death of his 80-year-old predecessor, describing him as “a guiding force for good”, as well as a good friend and mentor.

“He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving and a path to a better world,” Guterres said in a statement.

“In these turbulent and trying times, he never stopped working to give life to the values of the United Nations Charter,” he added. “His legacy will remain a true inspiration for all of us.”

India also expressed condolences to the former Ghanaian diplomat’s family and the UN community as a whole. “Sorry to learn of the passing of former Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan,” the official Twitter handle of the Indian President said.

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UN Human Rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said he was “grief-stricken” over the news of the Ghanaian politician’s death. “Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace,” he said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said in a tweet he was “learning with deep sadness of the passing of Kofi Annan,” who he went on to describe as an “international leader, wise mentor, valuable adviser, good friend and role model.”

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted: “Today we lose a great humanist. Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan has left us, but we still have his legacy to continue working for peace, security and to reinforce the defence of human rights.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Annan was “a great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he had left a better place than the one he was born into.”

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French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that France paid tribute to Annan: “We will never forget his calm and resolved gaze, nor the strength of his fight.”

Annan passed away died in a hospital in the Swiss city of Bern after a short illness, with his wife and three children by his side.

He was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He received the Nobel Peace Prize along with the UN in 2001 for revitalizing the UN and making human rights a priority.

He also led a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar.

–IANS

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