Kofi Annan, the international diplomat, dies at EIGHTY

Former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan poses during a photo session in Paris on December 11, 2017 Symbol copyright AFP

It was once at his elite boarding school in West Africa that Kofi Annan – the man who would later change into the world’s best diplomat – learnt one in every of his most vital lessons.

It was, he said later, “that suffering anyplace considerations other folks in all places”.

The concept seems to have inspired Mr Annan during a lifestyles which noticed him play a key position within the crises that have formed the world, from the HIV/Aids pandemic, to the Iraq Struggle and, latterly, local weather change.

His humanitarian paintings could win him a Nobel Peace Prize, but it surely might also win him a raft of critics.

Mr Annan, the primary black African to lead the United Countries, would however became considered one of the most enduring and acknowledged diplomats in modern historical past.

Symbol copyright AFP

After studying at school, first within the newly liberated Ghana, adopted through Macalester Faculty in the US, he got his first task with the UN.

The place – the cheap officer with the sector Well Being Group (WHO) – gave no trace as to the career he was once to have over the following 4 many years, culminating in 1997 when he used to be elected secretary-basic.

However earlier than he got there, he would face one in all the most important scandals of his occupation.


By 1993, Mr Annan had risen to the post of underneath secretary-normal and head of peacekeeping.

The Next 12 months, up to 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus have been massacred in 100 days in Rwanda. Then, in 1995, as much as 8,000 Muslims had been accomplished by way of Serbian forces in a so-called UN safe house in Bosnia.

In each instances, Mr Annan and his division came beneath fireplace – especially after it emerged that his department had in large part neglected information that had been passed to them, caution that the Rwandan genocide was being planned.

Image copyright AFP Symbol caption Mr Annan braved hecklers all the way through his discuss with to Mulire Genocide memorial in Rwanda

At The tenth anniversary of the genocide, Mr Annan said his shortcomings.

“i personally, as head of the UN’s peacekeeping department on the time, pressed dozens of countries for troops,” he stated in 2004. “i thought at that point that i was doing my best possible.

“But I realised after the genocide that there has been more that i could, and may, have done to sound the alarm and rally fortify. This painful reminiscence, in conjunction with that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has prompted so much of my thinking, and plenty of of my movements, as secretary-common.”

Regardless Of this, in 1997, on the age of 59, Mr Annan would be successful Boutros Boutros-Ghali as UN secretary-common.


Mr Annan had inherited an corporation which, after 52 years, used to be on the brink of bankruptcy.

He set about reforming the establishment, cutting 1,000 jobs out of 6,000 positions on the New York headquarters, even as additionally seeking to convince reluctant member states to take responsibility for the sector’s many tragedies.

Mr Annan additionally were given The U.s. to pay a backlog of debt it owed the UN.

He also became his consideration to the longer term, setting up the Millennium Objectives – an formidable set of priorities to meet through 2015, from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the unfold of HIV/Aids.

However it was once not an easy process.

Symbol copyright AFP Symbol caption the united states subsidized Kofi Annan over Boutros Boutros-Ghali to be UN secretary-normal

“I used to mention the letters SG don’t stand for secretary-normal, they stand for scapegoat,” he instructed the BBC.

In 2001, Mr Annan and the UN had been presented the Nobel Peace Prize. The quotation lauded Mr Annan, the second UN Secretary Common to be given the prize, as any person who had brought “new existence to the agency”.

The Same yr, he was once unanimously re-elected for a 2d term.

However bother was simply across the nook.


In 2003, The U.s. – one in every of Mr Annan’s greatest supporters – introduced its goal to head to battle in Iraq. within the finish, The U.s. bypassed the UN and invaded Iraq with a voluntary coalition.

This drove a wedge between Mr Annan and the superpower. Talking about the invasion, he later instructed the BBC: “From our aspect of view and from the charter aspect of view, it was once illegal.”

This new divide between Mr Annan and The U.s. led to him issues after the “oil for food scandal”, which emerged in 2004, implicated the secretary-normal, both professionally and for my part.

Kofi Annan: Key dates

1938: Born in Kumasi, now Ghana’s second city 1962: Begins operating at the United Countries in Geneva, Switzerland 1965: Weds Titi Alakija. They’ve kids, a boy and a lady 1984: Marries Nane Lagergren, having divorced a year earlier 1991: Twin sister Efua dies 1993: Turns Into head of peacekeeping operations 1997: Appointed 7th Secretary-Common of the United International Locations 2001: Wins Nobel Peace Prize 2006: Steps down as secretary-common after 10 years 2012: Made chair of The Elders, a peace and human rights advocacy team

The programme, which was once began in 1996 to sell restricted quantities of oil from sanction-hit Iraq in go back for humanitarian provides, had been subverted by way of some of those involved, including companies, UN officers, international politicians and diplomats.

However extra problematic was the truth Mr Annan’s most effective son, Kojo, had won payments from an organization which was once reduced in size to monitor the programme.

An inquiry the following yr cleared him of having used improper influence on behalf of his son, however did find failings in how he had overseen the programme.

In The United States, politicians called for his resignation. His reply? “Hell, no.”


However 18 months later, in December 2006, he did step down. Now nearly 70, it was an age while the general public can be happy to place their toes up.

He and his 2nd spouse, Swedish attorney Nane Marie Lagergren, who married in 1984, determined to flee to Italy for a six-week break.

in keeping with The Dad Or Mum, after just a week he was bored and decided to venture out to shop for a newspaper – simplest to be surrounded by way of a group of men wanting his autograph.

Unfortunately, that they had mistaken him for US actor Morgan Freeman. Now Not desirous to allow them to down, he signed Mr Freeman’s identify and fled.

Perhaps the speed with which he was bored was once a hallmark of what was once to come: he arrange the Kofi Annan Foundation, which promotes global sustainable development, safety and peace, in 2007.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Kofi Annan married his second his wife Nane Marie in 1984

The Next 12 months, he led in all probability his most a success diplomatic mission.

The energy-sharing agreement he help broker among Kenyan competition leader Raila Odinga and previous President Mwai Kibaki positioned an finish to the post-election violence which had left at least 1,000 other folks dead, and forced 300,000 to flee their properties.

In 2012, he used to be appointed Joint Unique Consultant for Syria by means of the UN and the Arab League, as they attempted to search out an finish to the war.

The Following year, Annan was appointed the chair of the Elders, a gaggle started by means of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, which brings in combination former world leaders to interact for peace and human rights.

Four years later, he used to be requested via Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to lead an impartial commission investigating the Rohingya difficulty in her country.

He endured to be vocal on issues like climate modification, and an open critic of “macho leaders who consider they have to shine”.

“I’ve discovered retirement is hard work,” Mr Annan joked in an interview with the BBC to mark his 80th birthday.

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