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Israel mourns late UN chief

  • TOIKofiAnnan
Israel joined countries around the world in an outpouring of condolences on Saturday, following the death of former United Nations (UN) Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan.
by TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF | Aug 23, 2018

“We will remember him as having been very active in the international arena, and as someone who fought anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. We send our condolences to his widow and his family,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The Foreign Ministry said Annan had devoted his life to world peace.

“During his tenure, he opposed the attempts to delegitimise Israel and resolutely fought against Holocaust denial,” it said.

Annan was a firm supporter of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was involved in peace negotiations between the sides throughout his tenure between 1997 to 2006.

Last year, he told Associated Press that he did not believe peace was possible under the two sides’ current leadership.

United States

“Kofi Annan devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful place through his compassion and dedication to service,” Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the UN, said on Twitter.

“He worked tirelessly to unite us, and never stopped fighting for the dignity of every person.”

Former President Barack Obama said Annan had “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.”

Britain

“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,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair said his “good friend” was a “great diplomat, a true statesman, and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed”.

South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa praised Annan as a “great leader and diplomat extraordinaire” who had advanced the African agenda within the UN, and had “flown the flag for peace” around the world.

Retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu described Annan as “an outstanding human being who represented our continent and the world with enormous graciousness, integrity, and distinction.”

Zimbabwe

“A rare breed of diplomat; soft spoken but unshakeably firm,” tweeted Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition MDC Alliance in Zimbabwe, where Annan visited days before the July election.

“He had great love for world peace and democracy. A believer in Zimbabwe and its people. Go well son of Africa, champion of the world.”

Kenya

Two key figures in the deadly turmoil that followed Kenya’s 2008 election paid tribute to Annan, who helped mediate an end to the violence.

Former President Mwai Kibaki said Annan would “be remembered for mediating the return of peace in Kenya”.

Opposition Leader Raila Odinga hailed “what became known as ‘the Annan doctrine’, in which he made it clear that the need to respect sovereignty cannot be used as a shield by governments to brutalise their own citizens, and that the international community has a right to intervene”.

Ghana

President Nana Akufo-Addo declared a week of mourning for “one of our greatest compatriots”.

“He brought considerable renown to our country, 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.”

(Times of Israel)

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