Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general, dies

Sat 18 August 2018 10:28 GMT | 14:28 Local Time

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Ghanaian who served as secretary general between 1997 and 2006, dies aged 80.

The former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, has died at the age of 80 after a short illness, his family and foundation announced on Saturday, The Guardian reports.

The Ghanaian was the seventh secretary-general and served for two terms between 1997 and 2006. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his humanitarian work jointly with the UN as an organization in 2001.

He died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland in the early hours of Saturday with his wife, Nane, and three children Ama, Kojo, and Nina, by his side. He had retired to Geneva and later lived in a Swiss village.

The current UN secretary general, António Guterres, whom Annan appointed to lead its refugee agency, said: “In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination.”

The former UK prime minister Tony Blair said on Twitter that he was shocked and distressed by Annan’s death. “He was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago. Kofi Annan was a great diplomat, a true statesman and a wonderful colleague who was widely respected and will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy goes to Nane and his family,” he said.

Born in Kumasi, Ghana, on 8 April 1938, Annan joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva. He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force in Ismailia, the UN high commissioner for refugees in Geneva and in several senior posts at its headquarters in New York.

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