Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’

Kofi Annan a décidé de démissionner à la fin du mois, à expiration de son mandat, de son poste de médiateur des Nations unies et de la Ligue arabe dans le conflit syrien. /Photo prise le 2 août 2012/REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away peacefully on Saturday after a short illness. The renowned Ghanain diplomat was 80 years old.

A UN statement said the current UN chief, Antonio Guterres hailed him as “a guiding force for good” and a “proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity”.

“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership. He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom – and I know I was not alone,” Mr. Guterres said in a statement.

“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.”

Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 8 April 1938.

He joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva, rising through the ranks to hold senior-level posts in areas such as budget and finance, and peacekeeping.

He served as UN Secretary-General for two consecutive five-year terms, beginning in January 1997.

Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed that the national flag will fly at half-mast across the country and in all of Ghana’s diplomatic missions across the world, from Monday, 20 August, for one week in memory of Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General who died in Switzerland on Saturday.

In a statement, the president said: “The Government and people of Ghana, First Lady Rebecca and I are deeply saddened by the news of the death, in Berne, Switzerland, of one of our greatest compatriots, Mr. Kofi Annan.

“I extend, on behalf of the entire Ghanaian nation, our sincere, heartfelt condolences to his beloved widow, Nane Maria, and to his devoted children, Ama, Kojo and Nina, on this great loss. I am, however, comforted by the information, after speaking to Nane Maria that he died peacefully in his sleep.”

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