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Published On: Sat, Aug 18th, 2018

Former UN chief laureate Kofi Annan dies at 80

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kofiGENEVA : Former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan, who died on Saturday, will be remembered as a dedicated humanitarian whose career was tarnished by ugly conflicts that spun out of control. Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general who won the Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian work.

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Annan, who was chairman of the foundation, left behind a wife, Nane, and children named Ama, Kojo and Nina, who were by his side on his last days. The family said: “Annan was a son of Ghana and felt a special responsibility towards Africa.

Mr. Annan was unable to bring peace to Syria and bring to rest the failures of diplomacy in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, Cyprus, Somalia and Iraq, which are likely to drown out the plaudits for his softly spoken mediation and efforts to eradicate poverty and AIDS that won him the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr. Annan was brought up in an ethnically divided culture in his native Ghana, but one where dialogue was prized and outright conflict rare. “He’s driven by the idea of ‘don’t think no’; always looking for the best outcome,” Fred Eckhard, Mr. Annan’s spokesman during his time as Secretary-General, once told Reuters.

His reputation as a mediator was burnished by his success in halting a spiralling conflict in Kenya in 2007, when rival claims to the presidency caused ethnic massacres in which more than 1,200 died. Mr. Annan put the rivals in a room and told them: “There is only one Kenya”. He then persuaded one of them to accept the post of prime minister in a joint government. The violence ended.

Rwanda massacre. But earlier in his career, Mr. Annan’s record was less successful. He was head of U.N. peacekeeping in 1994, when he acknowledges he should have done more to help prevent the slaughter of 8,00,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The greatest reproach was that Mr. Annan failed to act on a telegram from the U.N. peacekeeper commander, General Romeo Dallaire, urging a move against arms caches being built up by Hutu extremists.(With Agency Inputs ).


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