Lajcak: Annan Was Visionary Champion for Multilateralism

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Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan speaks during a press briefing at the European headquarters of the United Nations, UN, in Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. (Photo: Keystone via AP and TASR)

New York, August 18 (TASR) – President of the UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak on Saturday stated that he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, describing him as “one of the world’s most respected diplomats, an extraordinary statesman, and a visionary champion for multilateralism”.

Annan, who became the first black African to serve as the UN secretary-general (1997–2006) and who also received the Nobel Peace Prize along the UN for his humanitarian work (in 2001), died in Bern, Switzerland on Saturday aged 80.

According to Lajcak, Annan was a “strong believer in dialogue and deeply committed defender of peace, development and human rights”.

“He dedicated his life to making the world a better, more peaceful, and just place for all people. And in many ways, he is a symbol for the shared values of the United Nations,” said Lajcak, according to his spokesman at the UN Brenden Varma.

Lajcak, a career diplomat, who also serves as Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister, recalled joint activities with Annan when he worked along with his special envoys for the Balkans, Eduard Kukan and Carl Bildt.

“Until today, I admire his wise and steadfast leadership, acumen and charisma,” said Lajcak, who extended his condolences to Annan’s family and friends, as well as the people of Ghana and the entire Africa.