China pays trib­ute to for­mer leader of UN

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG QINGYUN in Bei­jing and CAO WEI in Nan­jing

China said on Wed­nes­day its govern­ment and peo­ple will re­mem­ber the con­tri­bu­tion made by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the for­mer United Na­tions sec­re­tary-gen­eral whose death was an­nounced a day ear­lier.

Boutros-Ghali, 93, served as UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral from Jan­uary 1992 to De­cem­ber 1996 and was the first UN chief from Africa.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei said Boutros-Ghali had made an “in­deli­ble con­tri­bu­tion” to re­solv­ing con­flicts, im­prov­ing hu­man well-be­ing and strength­en­ing the UN’s role.

He was also “an old friend of the Chi­nese peo­ple” de­voted to de­vel­op­ing Sino-Egyp­tian re­la­tions and strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the UN.

Vet­eran Chi­nese diplo­mat Hua Lim­ing said BoutrosGhali had ad­vanced re­la­tions be­tween his coun­try and China while serv­ing as Egyp­tian for­eign min­is­ter. He also took a stance sim­i­lar to China’s on im­por­tant UN is­sues af­ter be­com­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s chief.

On tak­ing charge at the UN, Boutros-Ghali had in­sisted that in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions should be au­tho­rized by the or­ga­ni­za­tion in­stead of be­ing de­ter­mined by a su­per­power, a view sup­ported by China, Hua said.

In 2006, Boutros-Ghali was among those who re­ceived awards from then-Chi­nese premier Wen Ji­abao for their con­tri­bu­tions to Sino-Egyp­tian re­la­tions on the 50th an­niver­sary of ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Dur­ing his visit to Egypt in Jan­uary, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met with Boutros-Ghali and nine other Arabs who re­ceived awards for their con­tri­bu­tions to China-Arab friend­ship.

Hua said Boutros-Ghali had taken a very friendly ap­proach to­ward China and had vis­ited the coun­try five times.

Yang Fuchang, who served as China’s am­bas­sador to Egypt from 1994 to 1998, said he met with Boutros-Ghali when the lat­ter vis­ited China in the early 2000s. He said the Egyp­tian had left him with the im­pres­sion of be­ing “very knowl­edge­able” and “calm”.

Huang Chengfeng, the for­mer di­rec­tor of the univer­sity’s for­eign affairs of­fice who ac­com­pa­nied Boutros-Ghali dur­ing his visit to the univer­sity in May 2002, said he was friendly and con­sid­er­ate.

“He made no spe­cific de­mands for ac­com­mo­da­tion and food,” she said. “He took the ini­tia­tive to talk to the Chi­nese staff mem­bers, ask­ing about their lives and liv­ing con­di­tions. He and his wife also brought lit­tle gifts for us. I still care­fully keep the brooch that Mrs Boutros-Ghali gave to me..

Con­tact the writer at wangqingyun@chi­nadaily.

For­mer UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral

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