By Ann Charles
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced on August l8, 20l8, that in many ways, Kofi Annan, the late Secretary-General, was a guiding force for good and that he rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the Millenium with matchless dignity and determination.”
He mentioned in particular that he was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor, and that he was deeply honored by his trust in selecting him to serve as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership. As the Secretary-General stated, “Kofi Annan was always someone he could go to for council and wisdom, and I know I was not alone. He provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving, and a path to a better world.”
During a wreath-laying ceremony in New York, the current UN Chief Antonio Guterres led staff members in paying respect to the mild mannered diplomat from Ghana, who rose through the UN system to become its seventh leader in January l997, serving two consecutive five-year terms.
“His most defining features were his humanity and solidarity with those in need. He put people at the centre of the work of the UN, and was able to turn compassion into action across the UN system. We are still reaping the rewards of the Millennium Summit.”
At the same time, Antonio Guterres pointed out that “Kofi Annan faced up to the grave errors made by the United Nations in the l990s — in its response to the Rwanda Genocide and the Srbenica killings by shinng a light inside the United Nations. The reports he commissioned aimed to make sure such terrible mistakes are never repeated, and set the international community on a new course in its response to mass atrocities.”
“That action included uniting world leaders to agree to global targets on poverty and child mortality” said Antonio Guterres. The UN Chief also expressed his heartfelt condolences to Nane Annan, their beloved family, and all who mourn the loss of this proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”