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17 February 2016
Passing of Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali

A Statement from UNA-NCA President, Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.)

We note the passing of the sixth Secretary General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt. Elected in 1991 with the support of the US as the first Secretary General from the African continent, he was denied a second term by the veto of then US Ambassador (and later Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright, allegedly because his reappointment had become a political issue during President Bill Clinton’s reelection campaign. Boutros-Ghali’s tenure was unfortunately marked by UN and US failures in Somalia, the Balkans, and the Rwandan genocide, and by the failure of the US to pay back dues and assessments and provide support for peacekeeping missions. Scholarly and highly respected, Boutros-Ghali had made a significant contribution to President Carter’s Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel, but he continually clashed with US policymakers while at the UN.

As we prepare for the election of a new Secretary General in 2016, we should ensure that the next Secretary General is able to work effectively with the major powers, especially those who exercise a Security Council veto, while at the same time impartially adhering to the mandate and values in the UN Charter. And by all means, let’s hope the SG election process does not become an election year football.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (Retired)
UNA-NCA President