Kofi Annan dies, aged 80

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80.

His passing has been confirmed by the United Nations Migration Agency.

Mr Annan, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for humanitarian work, was one of the world's most celebrated diplomats and a charismatic symbol of the United Nations who rose through its ranks to become the first black African secretary-general.

He spent virtually his entire career as an administrator in the UN.

He served two terms as secretary-general from January 1997 to December 2006, capped nearly midway when he and the UN were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

During his tenure, he presided over some of the worst failures and scandals at the world body, one of its most turbulent periods since its founding in 1945.

A tweet from his official Twitter account read: "It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness."

Challenges from the outset forced him to spend much of his time struggling to restore its tarnished reputation.

His enduring moral prestige remained largely undented, however, both through charisma and by virtue of having negotiated with most of the powers in the world.

When he departed from the UN, he left behind a global organisation far more aggressively engaged in peacekeeping and fighting poverty, setting the framework for the UN's 21st-century response to mass atrocities and its emphasis on human rights and development.

"Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good," current secretary-general Antonio Guterres said.

"It is with profound sadness that I learned of his passing.

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."

Even out of office, Mr Annan never completely left the UN orbit. He returned in special roles, including as the UN-Arab League's special envoy to Syria in 2012.

He remained a powerful advocate for global causes through his eponymous foundation.

 

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