The entire world is in shock with the sudden death news of former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Kofi Atta Annan.
Dr. Annan, who served as first black Secretary General of the UN reportedly passed off over the weekend at age 80 in Bern, Switzerland following brief illness.
“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofia Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, for Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness. His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were be his side during his last days”, says a statement released by Kofi Annan Foundation.
The statement describes the ex-UN boss as a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. “During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development. Human rights and the rule of law”, the state notes.
Meanwhile, tributes have been pouring in from world leaders and international organizations for the home-going of this great son of Africa.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana extends condolences on behalf of the entire nation and says the Ghanaian flag would fly at half staff across the country for a week, beginning today, Monday, noting as the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to become UN Secretary-General, Annan “brought considerable renown to our country.”
Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa describes the late statesman as “A rare breed of diplomat; soft spoken but unshakably firm. He had great love for world peace & democracy.”
Former Kenyan Prime Minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga pays tribute to the late Dr. Annan’s “tireless work in stabilizing the world and encouraging Africa to aspire to higher ideals of democracy, respect for human rights and sound governance.”
Mr. Odinga says Annan was remembered in Kenya as the man who “saved the country from collapse following the 2007-2008 post-election violence.”
Current UN Secretary-General António Guterres told CNN that Annan had been “an enormous source of inspiration” to him, adding that the late leader had been committed to his principles and values even if he had to pay a heavy price for them.
The African Development Bank says it has learned with deep sadness the news of the death of Dr. Annan.
“With Mr. Kofi Annan’s passing, Africa and the entire world has lost its finest diplomat, champion of world peace and development advocate, leaving a void which will be hard to fill,” President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina mourns. “Today, the international community is mourning a man of great humility and righteousness; a formidable architect behind critical peace brokering agreements around the world. His leadership on spearheading the Millennium Development Goals, made poverty eradication an achievable global imperative. He touched the lives of everyone he met with his dignity and quiet resolve. We stand with his dear wife, Nane, family and friends at this time and express our heartfelt condolences”, Adesina notes.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said he was “grief-stricken” over Annan’s death. “Kofi was humanity’s best example, the epitome, of human decency and grace,” he notes, and adds, “In a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss becomes even more painful.”
A statement from The Elders said its members were “shocked and deeply saddened” by his death. “Kofi was a strong and inspiring presence to us all, and The Elders would not be where it is today without his leadership,” said deputy chairman Gro Harlem Brundtland.
NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that the world had lost one of its giants. “His warmth should never be mistaken for weakness,” he says, adding, “Annan showed that one can be a great humanitarian and a strong leader at the same time.”
Carl Bildt, co-chairman of the European council on Foreign Relations and former Swedish Prime Minister, describes the late Dr. Annan as “a man of courage, wisdom and friendship” and urged people to read his 2001 Nobel Peace Prize lecture.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praises Annan’s efforts to build the United Nations’ peacekeeping potential in a telegram to Guterres, cited by Russian state news agency TASS. “I was lucky to personally interact with Kofi Annan. I have been in genuine awe of his wisdom and courage, of his ability to make informed decisions even in the most difficult, critical situations,” Putin notes.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he was extremely saddened by the loss of an “unwavering champion for peace, justice and rule of law” and a “dear old friend.” Reports