Former United Nations chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali dies

The Egyptian diplomat became the first secretary-general from Africa in 1992.

AFP| Updated: Feb 17, 2016, 12:49 PM IST
Former United Nations chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali dies

United Nations: Former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who led the world body during one of its most difficult periods, with failed missions in Rwanda and Bosnia, died Tuesday in Cairo. He was 93.

The Egyptian diplomat became the first secretary-general from Africa in 1992, but his tenure ended abruptly five years later when the United States vetoed his second term.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described Boutros-Ghali as a respected statesman and scholar of international law who brought "formidable experience and intellectual power" to the top UN job.

"His commitment to the United Nations -- its mission and its staff -- was unmistakable, and the mark he has left on the organization is indelible," Ban said.

A former Egyptian foreign minister, the veteran diplomat headed the world body during one of its most difficult times with crises in Somalia, Rwanda, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia.

After a series of clashes with the US administration, Washington turned against Boutros-Ghali and decided to back Ghanaian Kofi Annan for the top post in late 1996.
French President Francois Hollande paid tribute to Boutros-Ghali, saying this "great Egyptian and great servant of the United Nations" had worked tirelessly to preserve peace and to prevent conflicts worldwide.

"His message must serve as inspiration to the international community`s action at a time when the Middle East knows new tragedies," Hollande said.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Boutros-Ghali`s "contribution to international affairs will long be remembered."

UN Security Council diplomats began a meeting in New York by observing a moment of silence in memory of Boutros-Ghali, who died in a Cairo hospital.

Under his tenure, the United Nations expanded its peacekeeping missions but the retreat from Rwanda ahead of the 1994 genocide and from the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica a year later were seen as dismal failures.