Global Council for Tolerance and Peace

Kofi Annan dead: Former UN secretary-general dies aged 80

Diplomatic sources announced the death of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Annan was 80 years old and became the seventh UN secretary-general, the first black African to serve two terms from 1997 to 2006.

Born in Kumasi, Ghana in 1938, Annan studied in Kumasi, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Geneva before joining the United Nations in 1962 as an administrator and budget officer at the World Health Organization.

He served on the International Economic Council for Africa in Addis Ababa, the International Emergency Force in Ismailia, the Office of the President of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and the United Nations Headquarters in New York where he headed peacekeeping operations.

In 1997 he assumed the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations after the United States had determined not to renew Boutros-Ghali.

Annan faced some challenges at the start of his term, most notably that the international organization was on the verge of bankruptcy.

After a trip to Washington to urge it to pay the dues to the international organization, he embarked on a reform plan to replenish it and cut about 1,000 jobs from 6,000 jobs at New York headquarters.

Unlike the Iraq issue, Annan was greatly admired for his role in Africa, where the problems of war, famine, disease and the displacement of millions of civilians continued to plague them and prevent development and progress.

He has shown a personal commitment to dealing with AIDS, working to bring money from rich countries to tackle the spread of the disease and has persuaded many countries, especially in Africa, to acknowledge the threat posed by the spread of the disease to its future.

In 2001 Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Oil for food
However, he criticized a report on the mismanagement of the oil-for-food program, which allowed Iraq under sanctions to sell its oil for food and medicine.

The report by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said Saddam Hussein used the program to make illegal profits.

Annan was acquitted of the charge with the help of his son, Kojo, who worked for a company, to win a contract contract to monitor the program.

He was also criticized for not acting quickly in the crises in Bosnia and Rwanda. He was the head of international peacekeeping operations when the massacres of Srebrenica and Rwanda took place.

The reform was Annan’s main project in the United Nations and he pressed to impose the philosophy of intervention. The United Nations is above the sovereignty of states when necessary to protect civilians from wars and massacres.

A committee of sages was appointed to draft a report that recognized the role of the United Nations when a state fails to protect its citizens.

In September 2005, the United Nations Declaration recognized that every government must protect its citizens from genocide, mass murder and human rights abuses.

The establishment of this principle is perhaps the most important legacy left by Annan.

In 2006, Annan left the Secretariat and later served as UN Special Envoy to Syria to lead international efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

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