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World Jewish Congress mourns death of Kofi Annan, a ‘tour de force’ within the United Nations

The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 80. “Former Secretary General Annan was a dedicated diplomat who throughout his life embodied the mandate of the United Nations to foster relations and cooperation among members of the international community,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

“Mr. Annan’s tenure as secretary general spanned some of the most difficult years of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the bus bombings of the 1990s, Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, the entirety of the second Intifada which wreaked deadly terror across Israel, and the Second Lebanon War in 2006, in which he helped secure a truce between Israel and Hezbollah,” Lauder said.

“While his politics were often radically different from those of the Israeli government and the Jewish Diaspora, he made clear his position that the right of the State of Israel to exist was not up for negotiation, nor was the Jewish people’s historic connection to the land,” Lauder added.

“Under Mr. Annan’s watch as secretary general in 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a critical mechanism of commemoration for the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and the millions of others who perished at the hands of the Nazis,” Lauder said. “Every year on January 27, thanks to Mr. Annan, the world remembers the greatest genocide in history and reflects on the tragic consequences that can arise from complacency to hatred."

“The WJC will always remember Mr. Annan as a tour de force within the halls of the United Nations,” Lauder said.

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