GENEVA,. Leaders around the world paid tribute to former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan, who died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of yesterday aged 80.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres:
“In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organisation into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”
Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo:
“Consummate international diplomat and highly respected former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to occupy this exalted position. He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena.
He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin:
“Many years of the life of this remarkable person and great politician were devoted to the service of the United Nations. Heading the UN at a difficult time, he did a great deal to realise the purposes and the goals of the organisation, strengthening its central role in world affairs. His personal contribution to building the UN’s peacekeeping potential, as well as in the settlement of a number of regional conflicts, was particularly significant.
I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage, his ability to make balanced decisions even in the most difficult, critical situations.”
Former US president Bill Clinton and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
“Kofi Annan was a truly great UN Secretary-General. It was an honour to work with him in his efforts to reform the UN, strengthen global health and peacekeeping, and reduce poverty. He made the fight against AIDS and the responsibility to protect civilians in conflict zones true priorities for the UN.”
Former US president George W. Bush:
“Kofi was a gentle man and a tireless leader of the United Nations. His voice of experience will be missed around the world.”
Former US president Barack Obama:
“Kofi Annan was a diplomat and humanitarian who embodied the mission of the United Nations like few others. His integrity, persistence, optimism, and sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations. Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world, and made time to motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders.”
The Elders (Group of global leaders):
“He played a vital role in leading The Elders’ work, and was a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private.
He was a constant advocate for human rights, development and the rule of law.
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.”
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari:
“Annan’s humility, nobility and love for humanity set him apart for global greatness, achieving recognition and commendation for the reform of the United Nations’ bureaucracy and multiple interventions to bring peace to the world.”
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley:
“Kofi Annan devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful place through his compassion and dedication to service. He worked tirelessly to unite us and never stopped fighting for the dignity of every person.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel:
“Kofi Annan never gave up working for the good in the world. (He) knew how to get people engaged, and became a role model, especially for young people all over the world.”
British prime minister Theresa May:
“A great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into.”
French president Emmanuel Macron:
“France pays tribute to him. We will never forget his calm and resolute approach to matters, nor the strength of his commitments.”
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif:
“A towering global leader and an unwavering champion for peace, justice and rule of law. Rest in peace my dear old friend.”
Israeli foreign ministry:
“A champion of Multilateral Diplomacy, a Nobel prize recipient and a world statesman who dedicated his public life to striving towards global peace and the alleviation of poverty and reducing child mortality. As UN Secretary General, he resisted the delegitimisation of Israel. He fought actively against Holocaust denial and supported in 2006 the UN initiative on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
Raila Odinga, Kenyan opposition leader and former prime minister:
“A great African, a great leader of the world. We here in Kenya remember him for the role that he played in presiding over the process of reconciliation following the crisis that followed the 2007 general elections. Kofi Annan was able to bring the different factions in our country together.”
Former Ghanaian President John Mahama:
“He lived and worked for global peace, security and sustainable development in very challenging times. A proud son of Ghana and Africa.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa:
Annan was “a great leader and diplomat extraordinaire” who had advanced the African agenda within the United Nations and had “flown the flag for peace” around the world.
“Despite the fact that his efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, and the plan which bore his name were not met with success, his name has been linked to the issue of occupied Cyprus.”