Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former UN head, dies at 93

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UN BOUTROS GHALI-81421He died at a Cairo hospital on Tuesday, Egypt’s state news agency said, after reportedly being admitted with a broken pelvis.

His death was confirmed by Rafael Ramirez, the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN and current president of the UN Security Council.

As an Egyptian, Mr Boutros-Ghali was the first Arab to serve as UN chief.

He took office in 1992 at a time of increasing influence for the world body following its decisive role in the Gulf War, serving one five-year term.

The 15-member Security Council observed a minute’s silence after the announcement, which was made at the start of a session on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

No further details on his death were immediately available.

Mr Boutros-Ghali had received a phone call from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last Thursday, after being admitted to hospital, Egyptian press reported.

Controversy

A former Egyptian foreign minister, Mr Boutros-Ghali led the world body during one of its most difficult times, with crises in Somalia, Rwanda, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia.

His five years in office were clouded by controversy, especially about perceived UN inaction over the 1994 Rwandan genocide and Angolan civil war of the 1990s.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and U.S. President Bill Clinton are seen in this 1996 file photo at the United Nations.Image copyrightReuters
Image captionBoutros Boutros-Ghali with Bill Clinton in 1996
This file photo taken on May 1, 1996 shows former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (L) as he talks with United Nations Secretary General Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali upon his arrival at the United Nations.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionWith Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1996
Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (R) chats to then-French President Jacques Chirac (L) at the Francophone Summit in Hanoi, in this November 14, 1997Image copyrightReuters
Image captionWith French President Jacques Chirac in 1997

To some, he was an effective diplomat who was caught in a rift between the UN and the United States. Others, most notably in Washington, saw him as a symbol of all that was wrong with the organisation.

He was often jeered, and often waded into crowds to confront protesters when security guards permitted. “I am used to fundamentalists in Egypt arguing with me,” he told Reuters.

He shocked many in Sarajevo when he said he was not trying to belittle the horrors in Bosnia but that there were other countries where the “total dead was greater than here”.

He was born on 14 November 1922 into a Coptic Christian family in Cairo, and educated at Cairo University and in Paris, where he established a lifelong connection with France.

He went on to study international relations at Columbia University in New York and became Egypt’s foreign minister in 1977, under president Anwar al-Sadat.

After leaving the UN, Mr Boutros-Ghali served from 1998 to 2002 as secretary general of La Francophonie – a grouping of French-speaking nations.

In 2004, he was named the president of Egypt’s new human rights council, a body created by then-Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak amid US pressure on Arab nations for democratic reform.

 

-BBC

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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