Late Kofi Annan

Tributes have been pouring in from world leaders and diplomats.

Current UN chief Antonio Guterres has been leading the tributes to his predecessor, describing Mr Annan as “a guiding force for good”.

“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,” he said in a statement.

UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein said in a tweet he was grief-stricken over Annan’s death:
Sad to hear of the death of Kofi Annan. 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. My thoughts and condolences are with his family.

Kofi Annan, the first black African to become UN secretary-general, died aged 80 in Switzerland.

He “passed away peacefully on Saturday after a short illness”, the Kofi Annan foundation announced on Saturday.

In a statement announcing his death, the Kofi Annan Foundation described him as a “global statesman and deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world”.

“Wherever there was suffering or need, he reached out and touched many people with his deep compassion and empathy. He selflessly placed others first, radiating genuine kindness, warmth and brilliance in all he did.”

Mr. Annan served two terms as UN chief from 1997 to 2006, and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian work for his efforts.

He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Annan’s diplomatic career continued after retirement from the UN, with a successful role in negotiations for a power-sharing deal to end post-election violence in Kenya in 2008. A year earlier, he set up his foundation aimed at promoting global sustainable development, security and peace.

In 2012 he was made chair of The Elders, a peace and human rights advocacy group started by South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

His most recent role was chairing an independent commission investigation Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis.

Annan’s wife, Nane, and three children were “by his side during his last days”, the Kofi Annan Foundation said.

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has ordered flags be flown at half-mast across the country and in diplomatic missions across the world for seven days, starting on Monday.

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