Former UN Chief and Nobel Laureate Kofi Annan Has Died

Epoch Newsroom
By Epoch Newsroom
August 18, 2018World News

Kofi Annan, the controversial seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, has died.

His death, at age 80, was announced by the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Annan, of Ghanaian nationality, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Aug. 18, two close associates of his said.

Annan’s foundation announced his death in a tweet on Saturday, saying that he died after a short unspecified illness.

NTD Photo
Kofi Annan attends the Prix Pictet award ceremony at Victoria & Albert Museum on May 21, 2014 in London, England. (Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Prix Pictet)

During his tenure, Annan presided over some of the worst failures and scandals at the world body, one of its most turbulent periods since its founding in 1945. Challenges from the outset forced him to spend much of his time struggling to restore its tarnished reputation.

Annan led a bold thrust to revitalize the United Nation’s institutions, as the Economist reported, but was also criticized for diplomatic ineffectiveness in the run-up to the Iraq war, and was beset by questions of personal integrity around the infamous oil for food scandal.

Annan objected to the invasion of Iraq and made strident diplomatic efforts to stave it off, including traveling to Iraq to negotiate in person with Saddam Hussein. Yet his efforts to both bridge the deep rifts within the UN’s Security Council and bring about a diplomatic resolution proved futile, with a U.S.-led “coalition of the willing” declaring that “diplomacy has failed” and, convinced that Saddam’s Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction–which were ultimately never found–proceeded to invade Baghdad without UN approval.

More personally, in 2004 reports surfaced that the UN had awarded a lucrative contract to a Geneva-based company that employed his son, Kojo Annan, in a humanitarian program in Iraq known as oil for food. Kojo had not disclosed payments he received from his employer, which had a $10 million-a-year contract to monitor humanitarian aid under the oil-for-food program. The company paid at least $300,000 to Kojo so he would not work for competitors after he left.

Kofi Annan visits a refugee camp for Myanmar's stateless Rohingya Muslims.
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan (C), escorted by police and security, departs following a meeting with Rohingya Muslims at Thet Kay Pyin camp for displaced Rohingya families in Sittwe on September 7, 2016. Annan led the multi-sector advisory commission on Rakhine State to find a lasting solution to Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya Muslims. (Romeo Gacada/AFP/Getty Images)

An independent inquiry committee led by Paul A. Volcker criticized the secretary-general in its report for being too complacent, saying he should have done more to investigate matters even if he was not involved with the awarding of the contract.

“The family kindly requests privacy at this time of mourning,” the announcement states.

Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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