Kofi Annan

Israel expressed its sorrow over the death of Kofi Annan, a global diplomat and the first black African to become United Nations secretary-general.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan died early Saturday at age 80.

Israel is “saddened” by Annan’s death, “a champion of Multilateral Diplomacy, a Nobel Prize recipient and a world statesman who dedicated his public life to striving towards global peace and the alleviation of poverty and reducing child mortality,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated.

Annan “resisted the delegitimization of Israel,” the statement said. “He fought actively against Holocaust denial and supported the 2006 UN initiative on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Annan ‘Fought Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial’

Annan’s efforts led to the institution of an annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust to be recognized on January 27.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening expressed his regret over the passing of Annan.

“We will remember him as having been very active in the international arena and as someone who fought anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. We send our condolences to his widow and his family,” Netanyahu stated.

Before leaving office, Annan helped secure a truce between Israel and the Hezbollah terror organization at the end of the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

However, he expressed alarm at President Donald Trump’s decision to back out of the Iran nuclear deal and move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, moves ardently supported by Israel.

Late Israeli President Shimon Peres was quoted as saying at a farewell dinner for Annan in 2006 that “there are things a secretary-general must do, and there are also things that he is free to do. We shall remember Kofi Annan – and thank him – for the things he did that he was free to do.”

First UN Chief to Slam Anti-Israel Bias

Eve Epstein, a former consultant to the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General who worked with Annan, wrote an op-ed for the Forward in 2006 headlined “Annan made the nations a little less united against Israel.”

In 1998, on his first official visit to Israel, he underscored Israel’s exclusion from the UN’s system of regional groupings, which prevented Israel from joining many of the body’s most important institutions, a travesty rectified by Israel’s acceptance to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in 2000.

During Annan’s visit to Israel, Epstein noted that he was the first secretary-general to voice public criticism of a UN bias against Israel, slamming the UN’s “Zionism is racism” resolution (UN General Assembly Resolution 3379) of 1975.

Epstein said that in Annan’s last major speech on the Middle East, in December 2016, he questioned the value of endless UN resolutions against Israel.


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Source: United with Israel