Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan dies aged 80

Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan dies aged 80

Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006.

The first Secretary-General to reach the post from within an organisation he served for over 40 years, Kofi Annan had a life-long commitment to the cause of peace and was known for his staunch opposition to military aggression, notably the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Annan's death, following a short illness, was announced earlier on Saturday. "He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination", Mr Guterres, who was led the United Nations refugees department, said in a statement.

"Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good", Guterres said in a statement shortly after news broke of Annan's passing.

When he departed from the United Nations, he left behind a global organisation far more aggressively engaged in peacekeeping and fighting poverty, setting the framework for the UN's 21st-century response to mass atrocities and its emphasis on human rights and development.

In a tribute mourning the Ghanaian worldwide diplomat, President Akufo-Addo said: "I am, however, comforted by the information, after speaking to Nane Maria, that he died peacefully in his sleep". He also served as the United Nations special envoy for Syria, spearheading efforts to bring an end to the conflict.

I wish to express deep gratitude and appreciation of Dr. Annan for his dedicated and tireless work in stabilizing the world and encouraging Africa to aspire to higher ideals of democracy, respect for human rights and sound governance as the path to sustainable peace and economic development.

"Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor".

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"He was warm, compassionate & intelligent, exuding dignity & grace", says the new leader of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo.

Annan was under-secretary-general from March 1994 to October 1995.

Some critics point to mistakes: the inability of the United Nations to prevent the slaughter in Rwanda and Bosnia during Mr Annan's time as head of United Nations peacekeeping, or the allegedly weak United Nations response to the oil for food scandal, in which some unscrupulous businesses enriched themselves from a United Nations scheme created to soften the impact of United Nations sanctions on the Iraqi people by allowing the supervised sale of some Iraqi oil.

"Sad to hear of the death of Kofi Annan.

Kofi Annan is a man of integrity; a great African, a great leader of the world".

Other than being the founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation, he was a member of The Elders, a group of global leaders working for human rights, since it was founded in 2007.

The spokesperson suggested that Annan supported equal marriage, adding: "On the issue of same sex marriage, [Annan's] personal view, as stated in last week's press conference, is 'that individuals should be allowed to make their own choices and that we should be careful not to draw conclusions, or adopt prejudicial attitudes, towards people for their choices and preferences'".

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