Ghana mourns death of Kofi Annan

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UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan addresses the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York June 7, 2012, during a meeting on the situation in Syria. Reuters

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has hailed the late former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a consummate international diplomat who had brought immense pride to his country.

He ordered Ghana’s national flag to be flown at half-mast across the country and in all of the country’s diplomatic missions from today for one week.

Mr Akufo-Addo said the government and people of Ghana were saddened by the news of the death of “one of our greatest compatriots”.

“Consummate international diplomat and highly respected former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to occupy this exalted position. He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena,” an official statement said.

“He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity.”

Meanwhile, tributes from around the world are pouring in for the ‘high-profile and well-respected Mr Annan, 80, who died in the early hours of Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, according to a statement issued by his family.

The Nobel Peace Laureate was the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from January 1997 to December 2006, and became the first black African man to take on the top job as the world’s top diplomat.

He was founder and Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which issued a statement on social media, saying: “It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness…”

“His wife Nane and their children Ama, Kojo and Nina were by his side during his last days,” it said.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres voiced deep sorrow at the news his predecessor had passed away, calling him “a guiding force for good”.

“Kofi Annan was a guiding force for good,” Mr Guterres said in a statement shortly after news broke of Mr Annan’s passing.

Former US president Barack Obama said that Mr Annan “embodied the mission of the United Nations like few others,” breaking barriers and rising through the ranks to become the first black African secretary-general in 1997.

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