GENEVA | The Latest: Merkel: 'We will greatly miss' Annan's voice

GENEVA | The Latest: Merkel: ‘We will greatly miss’ Annan’s voice

GENEVA  — The Latest on the death of former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan (all times local):
3:20 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan “inspired me and many others with his ideas, his firm convictions and, not least, his charisma.”

Merkel says in a statement that Annan, who died early Saturday in Switzerland, shaped the United Nations “like hardly anyone before him” and said that “he knew how to spark enthusiasm, particularly among young people.”

Merkel adds that “in our present time, in which the common search for solutions to global problems is more urgent than ever, we will greatly miss Kofi Annan’s voice.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a separate statement is mourning the “passing of my old friend and inspiration.”

He adds that “the greatest recognition we can give Kofi Annan is to keep his legacy and his spirit alive. It has never been more important than in today’s world.”
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2:35 p.m.

People across Africa are expressing shock and sorrow over the death of Ghanaian-born Kofi Annan, the first black African to become U.N. secretary-general. His death at age 80 was announced Saturday.

“We are devastated,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation says in a statement. “Africa and the world has lost a special human being.”

Annan had been chair of The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by Mandela.

African leaders including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are offering condolences.

Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed, the U.N. deputy secretary-general, says in a tweet that Annan “gave hope to the voiceless” and she calls him “my friend, my hero, my inspiration.”
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2:25 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he admired former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose death at age 80 was announced on Saturday, for his wisdom and courage.

The Kremlin’s press office quotes Putin’s message to the current U.N. chief offering condolences to the U.N. as well as Annan’s family and his native Ghana.

“I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage as well as his ability to make balanced decisions even under the most dire and critical circumstances,” Putin says. “Russians will keep the memory of him forever.”

In Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a tweet calls Annan “a towering global leader and an unwavering champion for peace, justice and rule of law. Rest in peace, my dear old friend.”
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2 p.m.

European leaders are expressing sadness over the death of former U.N. chief Kofi Annan at age 80 and praising his graceful leadership.

President Emmanuel Macron says in a tweet Saturday that “we will never forget his calm and resolute look, nor his strength in battles.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May in a tweet says Annan “made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into.”

“He was a titan amongst world statesman who saw wrong and righted it,” says former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says on Twitter that Annan’s “warmth should never be mistaken for weakness. … The U.N. and the world have lost one of their giants.”
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1:50 p.m.

Former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is mourning the death of fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan, saying “we give great thanks to god” for him.

The death of the former U.N. secretary-general at age 80 after a short illness was announced Saturday.

Tutu says the Ghanaian-born Annan “represented our continent and the world with enormous graciousness, integrity and distinction.”

Annan took over from Tutu as chair of The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela. Tutu calls it a “tremendous honor” to be succeeded by Annan and calls his death an “unexpected and devastating loss.”
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1:40 p.m.

The U.N.’s top human rights official says former U.N. chief Kofi Annan was “a friend to thousands and a leader of millions.”

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein says that “in a world now filled with leaders who are anything but that, our loss, the world’s loss, becomes even more painful.”

Annan’s death at age 80 was announced Saturday.

The Jordanian diplomat, whose four-year term ends Aug. 31, says in a statement he once told Annan how everyone was criticizing him and the former U.N. chief responded that “you’re doing the right thing, let them grumble.”
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1:20 p.m.

The death of former U.N. secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan at age 80 has shaken people in the West African nation of Ghana, where he was born.

The government and people of Ghana “are deeply saddened by the news of the death, in Berne, Switzerland, of one of our greatest compatriots,” President Nana Akufo-Addo says on Twitter.

Former President John Dramani Mahama says that “Kofi Annan lived well and worked for global peace, security and sustainable development in very challenging times. A proud son of Ghana and Africa.”
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1:10 p.m.

The focus of some of Kofi Annan’s last statements was Zimbabwe, which the Nobel Peace Prize winner visited last month while urging a peaceful election.

While the vote was calm, Annan denounced the violence that erupted in the capital two days later as the military swept into the streets to disperse opposition protesters.

Opposition Nelson Chamisa is among those mourning Annan’s death at age 80. “Deeply saddened by the sudden passing of the iconic Kofi Annan whom I met a few days ago,” Chamisa says on Twitter. “A rare breed of diplomat; soft spoken but unshakeably firm.”
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12:55 p.m.

Shocked reactions are pouring in after the death of former U.N. secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan at age 80 after a short illness.

“He was a good friend whom I saw only weeks ago,” says former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“A great man, a dear brother,” says the chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

“He was warm, compassionate & intelligent, exuding dignity & grace,” says the new leader of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo.

“International leader, wise mentor, valuable adviser, good friend, role model,” says U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi. “We at UNHCR — and millions of others around the world — will miss him very much.”
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12:40 p.m.

The Elders, an elite group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, say they are “shocked and deeply saddened” by the death of their colleague and chair Kofi Annan at age 80 after a short illness.

In a statement, The Elders call the former U.N. secretary-general and Nobel Peace Prize winner “a voice of great authority and wisdom in public and private.”

The organization says Annan’s most recent work was in visits to South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the country was preparing for a historic presidential election.

“His quiet advice on how best to defuse impending crises was in constant demand from all corners of the globe, in particular from Africa,” says deputy chair Gro Harlem Brundtland.
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11:55 a.m.

Kofi Annan, one of the world’s most celebrated diplomats and a charismatic symbol of the United Nations who rose through its ranks to become the first black African secretary-general, has died.

He was 80.

His foundation announced his death in a tweet on Saturday, saying that he died after a short unspecified illness.

Annan spent virtually his entire career as an administrator in the United Nations. He served two terms as secretary-general from Jan.

1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 2006, capped nearly mid-way when he and the U.N. were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.

During his tenure, Annan presided over some of the worst failures and scandals at the world body, one of its most turbulent periods since its founding in 1945.

By Associated Press

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