Former UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, who brokered a historic ceasefire between Iran and Iraq in 1988 died on March 4 at the age of 100. His son, Francisco Perez de Cuellar reportedly said that his father died at home in Peru of natural causes.
Perez was born in Lima in 1920 and he served as the UN's fifth secretary-general between 1982 and 1991. He had a long diplomatic career that brought him full circle from his first posting as the secretary at the Peruvian embassy in Paris in 1944 to a later job as Peru's ambassador to France. He was also the Peruvian Prime Minister and was the one who came out of retirement to help re-establish democracy in Peru.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra in a tweet said that Perez was “an outstanding Peruvian, a full-bodied democrat, who dedicated his life and work to making our country great”.
Perez also served in embassies across Europe and Latin America and at the UN he presided over the influential Security Council and as a special representative, he brokered a peace deal between Greece and Turkey as well. He had also helped to end hostilities in Western Sahara, and civil wars in El Salvador, Cambodia and Nicaragua. He has also received honorary doctorates from nearly 40 universities around the world.
UN Secretary-General Guterres, in a statement, said that he was 'profoundly saddened' by the news. Guterres said, “His tenure as Secretary-General coincided with two distinct eras in international affairs: first, some of the iciest years of the Cold War, and then, with the ideological confrontation at an end, a time when the United Nations began to play more fully the role envisaged by the founders”.
He further added, “Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar played a crucial role in a number of diplomatic successes — including the independence of Namibia, an end to the Iran-Iraq War, the release of American hostages held in Lebanon, the peace accord in Cambodia and, in his very last days in office, a historic peace agreement in El Salvador”.
"He was an accomplished statesman, a committed diplomat and a personal inspiration who left a profound impact on the United Nations and our world."— United Nations (@UN) March 5, 2020
-- @antonioguterres on the passing of former Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar https://t.co/GA1djrowKz pic.twitter.com/wiYbdDPQ1X
Several other UN officials along with UN Sri Lanka also paid their condolences.
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former @UN— Inger Andersen (@andersen_inger) March 5, 2020
Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. As a young woman working with the United Nations 🇺🇳in the late 1980s, I was very inspired by his mild manner, his humility and his massive achievements.https://t.co/Il2QlFdRWw pic.twitter.com/2ouYhoM5la
Thank you for your leadership— Toby Lanzer (@tobylanzer) March 5, 2020
Javier Perez de Cuellar
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/SQNw9SsdmV
United Nations in Sri Lanka is saddened to hear of the passing of our former Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. We send our condolences to his family, Peru and the @UN family. https://t.co/sPuHs3pjTZ pic.twitter.com/jrKsOxz5wK— UN in Sri Lanka (@UNSriLanka) March 5, 2020