Kofi Annan; Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

On Saturday 18 August 2018, Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, died aged 80 in Bern, Switzerland.

Born in Ghana, he served in this position from 1997 to 2006, being the first Secretary-General to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff. One of his main priorities as Secretary-General was a comprehensive programme of reform aimed at revitalising the United Nations and making the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals and Africa, and sought to bring the organisation closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector and other partners.​

Following hearing of the news, Luxembourg's Minister for foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, released a statement, as follows:

"With the death of Kofi Annan, humanity loses a valuable man, a good man, a worthy man.

Kofi Annan embodied the United Nations, with all its strengths and weaknesses. A world without a lie - this is the fundamental ambition of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000 at the Millennium Summit, under his leadership.

The axiom of Kofi Annan - there is no security without development and there is no development without security, and neither of them without respect for human rights. Rule of Law - is also at the base of Luxembourg's foreign policy.

In these times, where the moral compass often seems to be lacking, Kofi Annan's work is a true reference to respect for human rights and the fundamental values ​​of humanity.

Personally, I met Kofi Annan for the first time in September 2004 at the United Nations General Assembly. We worked very closely together during our presidency of the EU and in particular with a view to organising the international conference on Iraq in June 2005, held under the auspices of the United Nations.

The world has lost a statesman, a real one."