Ghana burying former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Ghana burying former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be buried on Thursday in his home country, Ghana, after a national funeral attended by world leaders, but also traditional leaders.

The ceremony at the Accra International Conference Center is scheduled to start at 8:30 am local time (0830 GMT), and mark the end of three days of national mourning.

Annan led the UN from 1997 to 2006 and was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to succeed. He was also winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

He died on August 18 at the age of 80 at his home in Switzerland after a brief illness.

The current head of the world organization, Antonio Gutteres, is expected to attend the funeral, which will be followed by a private burial in the capital's military cemetery.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said the funeral was "a major event" for the country and described Mr. Annan as "one of the most illustrious men of his generation".

The Ghanaians were able to pay tribute to Mr.Annan and gather at his coffin, covered with the national flag, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For two days, long lines of members of civil society or dignitaries came to his coffin, guarded by soldiers, to the sound of traditional dances and songs.

Fritz Kitcher, a retired Ghanaian from the United Nations where he worked alongside Annan in his early days, told AFP that he had taught him "humility, the benefit of honesty and determination. diplomacy".

His role as the first black African leader of the United Nations "is an honor for Ghana," he said.

Born in Kumasi, the second largest city in the country and capital of the Ashanti region, Mr. Annan dedicated four decades of his life to the UN, where he had to face the challenges of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was appreciated for his discreet charisma.

Annan received the Nobel Peace Prize after the September 11 attacks in the United States, together with the UN, "for their work for a more organized and peaceful world."

The one who was considered a "diplomatic rock star" in international diplomatic circles, finally left this post in 2006.

He continued his diplomatic work, conducting mediations in several conflicts, and, more recently, he led a consultative commission in Burma on the crisis in Rakhine State.

He notably intervened as a negotiator between the government and the Kenyan opposition during the post-election violence of late 2007, leading to the formation of a coalition government.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga will attend the funeral, his office said.

Other participants include Princess Beatrix, former Queen of the Netherlands, and her daughter-in-law, Princess Mabel, who are close friends of Mr. Annan, and his wife Nane Maria.

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