United Nations, Sep 22 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the UN and Kofi Annan (the late former UN secretary-general) were inseparable and it is impossible to say where one ended and the other began.
Guterres on Friday led a list of diplomats, staff and family members speaking in the UN General Assembly Hall at a memorial tribute to Annan, who died on August 18 in Geneva after a short illness, a Nobel laureate and native of Ghana, Xinhua reported.
“Kofi Annan was uncommonly warm, accessible and of the people — but above all he was principled and forceful in battling for the values of the UN Charter,” said Guterres. “He was charming and wise, kind and courageous. But he also knew how to deliver the barb — in his masterly subtle way.”
“And sometimes, people were so captivated by his presence that they did not realize that they were being admonished!” said Guterres, who was appointed by Annan as High Commissioner for Refugees in 2005.
But, “Throughout his tenure Kofi Annan urged us never to be bystanders in life,” the UN chief said. “He summoned us all to act against bias, brutality and bloodshed.”
“He was a multilateralist through and through, a true UN-blue believer in a rules-based global order,” Guterres said. “And, I must say, his loss cuts even deeper because we have never needed that faith and inspiration more.”
This was a reference to US President Donald Trump’s history of snubbing multilateralism for his bilateral approach to international relations.
“Kofi Annan called the UN the ‘last best hope of humanity,” said Guterres. “He burned with the flame of human rights, dignity and justice.”
President Maria Fernanda Espinosa of the 73rd General Assembly session, which just began last week, said it is “eminently fitting that we remember him (Annan) on this day — a day fixed by this Assembly 17 years ago, on his watch and with his strong support, as International Peace Day. For no one laboured more tirelessly or consistently in the cause of peace than did Kofi Annan.”
“Kofi Annan was a great Secretary-General because he understood that peace cannot be achieved in isolation,” she said.
Nane Annan said her late husband, “died too soon,” shortly after returning from witnessing elections in Zimbabwe, just another one of the many missions he was on since “retiring” at the end of 2006.
“The rebel on the 38th floor,” where the secretary general’s office is located, had a “glowing aura” and was known for thinking “outside the box,” she said, expressing gratitude for the memorial and adding, “We shall cherish this moment.”