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Kofi Annan: Ex-British PM Tony Blair, others pay tribute

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Reactions are pouring in after the shocking death of former UN Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan at age 80.

Annan died on Saturday in Geneva after a brief illness.

Kofi Annan

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who expressed shock over the death of Annan said on twitter that “he was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, described him as “a great man, a dear brother.”

New leader of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo, said “he was warm, compassionate and intelligent, exuding dignity and grace.”

For Filippo Grandi, UN refugee Chief, Annan was “international leader, wise mentor, valuable adviser, good friend and role model.”

“We at UNHCR and millions of others around the world will miss him very much.”

Elsewhere, The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, say they are “shocked and deeply saddened” by the death of their colleague and chairman Kofi Annan at age 80 after a short illness.

In a statement, The Elders call the former UN secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner “a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private.”

The group said Annan’s most recent work was in visits to South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the country was preparing for a historic presidential election.

“His quiet advice on how best to defuse impending crises was in constant demand from all corners of the globe, in particular from Africa,” Gro Harlem Brundtland, The Elders Deputy Chairman said.

Kofi Annan is 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.

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

Annan spent virtually his entire career as an administrator in the United Nations. He served two terms as secretary-general from Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 2006, capped nearly mid-way when he and the UN were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

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.


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