“Mr Kofi Annan was an exceptional world leader, a person in whom virtually everyone in the world could identify with, be they youth or those on the far reaches of poverty,” Mr Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations said in a tribute to the memory of Mr Annan on Thursday.
Reading the United Nations’ tribute at the burial service of the Late Kofi Annan, former UN General Secretary and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mr. Guterres described him as “one of a kind and one of us,”
He praised Mr Annan’s ability to bring different people together and unite them for their common goals and for ‘our common humanity’, adding that, Kofi Annan defied the old joke about the art of diplomacy, which is to say nothing, especially when one was speaking.
“Kofi Annan could say everything, sometimes without uttering the words. It came from the dignity, from the vision and the humanity that was so deep in him,” he stated.
Mr Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal, said although the late statesman had a gentle voice that made one smile and think of music, his words were tough and wise and sometimes the graver the situation, the lower the voice got.
Kofi Annan, he said, was courageous and spoke the truth and subjected himself to intense scrutiny and as UN Secretary General, had an almost mystical sense of how to use the UN as a force for good in a world of ills.
He paid tribute to Kofi Annan’s work at the UN, including his reform of the organisation, bringing it closer to the people of the world, his work in HIV/AIDS, the development of the Millennium Development Goals, Human Rights and other important initiatives.
“Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was him,” he said, to thunderous applause.
“Now that I occupy the office Kofi once held, I am continuously inspired by his integrity and his dedication,” he noted.