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  Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 1st UN chief from Africa, dies

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 1st UN chief from Africa, dies

AP
Published : Feb 17, 2016, 6:03 am IST
Updated : Feb 17, 2016, 6:03 am IST

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country’s landmark peace deal with Israel but then clashed with the United States when he served a single term as UN secreta

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. -AP
 Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. -AP

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country’s landmark peace deal with Israel but then clashed with the United States when he served a single term as UN secretary-general, has died. He was 93.

Boutros-Ghali, the scion of a prominent Egyptian Christian political family, was the first UN chief from the African continent. He stepped into the post in 1992 at a time of dramatic world changes, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a unipolar era dominated by the United States.

But after four years of frictions with the Clinton administration, the United States blocked his renewal in the post in 1996, making him the only UN secretary-general to serve a single term. He was replaced by Ghanaian Kofi Annan. The current president of the UN Security Council, Venezuelan ambassador Rafael Ramirez, announced Boutros-Ghali’s death at the start of a session Tuesday on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

The 15 council members stood in a silent tribute. Boutros-Ghhali died Tuesday at a Cairo hospital, Egypt’s state news agency said. He had been admitted to the hospital after suffering a broken pelvis, the Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday. Boutros-Ghali’s five years in the United Nations remain controversial. Some see him as seeking to establish the UN’s independence from the world superpower, the United States.

Others blame him for misjudgments in the failures to prevent genocides in Africa and the Balkans and mismanagement of reform in the world body. In his farewell speech to the UN, Boutros-Ghali said he had thought when he took the post that the time was right for the United Nations to play an effective role in a world no longer divided into warring Cold War camps.

Noted for his dignified bearing and Old World style, Boutros-Ghali was the son of one of Egypt’s most important Coptic Christian families. His grandfather, Boutros Ghali Pasha, was Egypt’s Prime Minister from 1908 to 1910. Born November 14, 1922, Boutros-Ghali studied in Cairo and Paris and became an academic, specialized in international law.

In 1977, then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat named him minister of state without portfolio, shortly before Sadat’s landmark visit to Israel to launch peace negotiations. “But the middle years of this half decade were deeply troubled,” he said. “Disillusion set in.”

Location: Egypt, Kairo, Cairo