World News: United Nations Pays Respect as Kofi Annan is laid To Rest| Jeremy Spell Blog

The United Nations (UN) on Thursday paid
final respects to former Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, as the late Ghanaian diplomat is
laid to rest on Thursday in Ghana.
The current UN Secretary-General Antonio
Guterres, in his remarks at the funeral of his
predecessor, played glowing tributes to
Annan, who died on Aug. 18, at the age of
80 years.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that
the UN General Assembly would hold a
commemorative meeting to pay tribute to
the former Secretary-General on Friday, at
the UN headquarters in New York.
Statements, a minute of silence, and
traditional African cultural performance, are
expected to be made in honour of the
seventh UN scribe.
“Kofi Annan was both one-of-a-kind and
one of us. He was an exceptional global
“He was also someone virtually anyone in
the world could see themselves in: those on
the far reaching of poverty or by, conflict
and despair who found in him an ally; the
junior UN staffers following in his
footsteps; the young person to whom he
said until his dying breath ‘always
remember, you are never too young to lead
– and we are never too old to learn.
“Like few in our time, Kofi Annan would
bring people together, put them at ease,
and unite them towards a common goal for
our common humanity.
“There is an old joke: The art of diplomacy
is to say nothing, especially when you are
speaking! Kofi Annan could say everything,
sometimes without uttering a word.
“It came from the dignity and the moral
conviction and the humanity that was so
deep in him.
“He had that gentle voice, that lilt that made
people smile and think of music. But his
words were tough and wise.
“And sometimes the graver a situation, the
lower that voice would get.We would lean
in to listen. And the world would lean in.
And we were rewarded by his wisdom,”
Guterres said.
The UN chief said Kofi Annan was
courageous, speaking truth to power while
subjecting himself to intense self-scrutiny.
Pointing to his time at the helm of the UN,
Guterres said Annan had an almost mystical
sense of the role of the UN as a force for
good in a world of ills.
“He pioneered new ideas and initiatives,
including the Millennium Development Goals
and the landmark reforms in his report, In
Larger Freedom .
“He opened the doors of the UN, bringing
the Organisation close to the world’s people
and engaging new partners in protecting
the environment, defending human rights
and combating HIV and AIDS and other
killer diseases.
“Kofi Annan was the UN and the United
Nation was him,” he said.
Guterres said now that he occupied the
office Annan once held, he is continually
inspired by his integrity, dynamism and
“To him, indifference was the world’s worst
poison. Even after finishing his term as
Secretary-General, he never stopped battling
on the front-lines of diplomacy.
“He helped to case post-election tensions in
Kenya, gave his all to find a political solution
to the brutal war in Syria and set out a path
for ensuring justice and rights for the
Rohingya people of Myanmar.
“Kofi straddled many worlds. North and
South, East and West. But he found his
surest anchor in his African roots and
“The great Nelson Mandela, accustomed to
being called Madiba, had his own nickname
for Kofi, and called him ‘my leader’. This was
no jest. Kofi was our leader, too,” Guterres
The UN chief said Annan is gone now and
he would be missed immensely but that his
words and wise counsel remain.
“Please carry on’, I hear him saying. ‘You
know what to do: Take care of each other.
Take care of our planet. Recognise the
humanity in all people.
“And support the United Nations – the place
where we can all come together to solve
problems and build a better future for all”‘.
Guterres concluded: “As we face the
headwinds of our troubled and turbulent
times, let us always be inspired by the
legacy of Kofi Annan – and guided by the
knowledge that he will continue speaking
to us, urging us on towards the goals to
which he dedicated his life and truly moved
our world”.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, on April 8, 1938,
Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of
the UN, after Egyptian diplomat, Boutrous
Boutrous-Ghali exit in December 1996, and
served for two consecutive five-year terms,
from January 1997 to December 2006.

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