It is with great sadness that I have just learned of the death of Kofi Annan. From Geneva to New York to Addis Ababa, Kofi Annan was committed on every continent, for more than half a century, to promoting the greatest causes and tackling the greatest challenges of the modern era: peace, development, the promotion of human rights, the fight against poverty and discrimination.
As secretary-general of the United Nations, which he led from 1997 to 2006, Kofi Annan initiated an intensive reform movement in the area of peacekeeping, following the tragedies in Rwanda and Srebrenica, as well as in the area of UN governance and its openness to civil society.
At the turn of this century, Kofi Annan enabled the UN to modernize in order to deal more effectively with the turmoil of a divided world, which he always sought to bring together. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his invaluable contribution to dialogue among men and to the promotion of peaceful conflict resolution.
After stepping down as UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan continued to fully dedicate himself to helping his contemporaries and to promoting multilateral action: as member and chair of the Elders group, a global group of wise men and women, as head of his own foundation, and as a mediator in the Syrian conflict.
He was also a friend of France, whose language he spoke. I pay tribute to his memory and would like to express France’s gratitude for his tireless efforts to promote peace. I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends, as well as to all those at the UN, in Ghana, his country to which he was so deeply attached, and elsewhere, who helped and supported him in his efforts to promote peace.