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Statement by President Higgins on the death of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

Date: Thu 5th Mar, 2020 | 10:33

News of the passing of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former United Nations Secretary-General, and Prime Minister of Peru, will be received with sadness by all who value and support the United Nations and its work.

Having served as one of Peru’s highest ranking diplomats – who both attended the very first UN General Assembly in 1946 and served as President of the UN Security Council – Mr. de Cuéllar was appointed UN Secretary General in 1981, the first Latin American to fill the role.

He was called on to lead the United Nations at a time of great division, violent international conflict, famine and growing global poverty.

His two terms of office contributed greatly to the strengthening of the reputation and influence of the United Nations as the world’s major forum for peace, multilateralism and conflict resolution.  He will be especially remembered for his enormous contribution to the ending of a range of conflicts, including those in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iran-Iraq.

Under his leadership, the UN Peace-keepers were awarded the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize, and Pérez de Cuéllar himself wrote that he saw the gaining of independence by Namibia as one of his greatest achievements.

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