France’s Hollande mourns former UN chief Botros-Ghali

Paris, Feb 17 (IANS) French President Francois Hollande mourned the passing of ex-UN head Botros Botros-Ghali and paid tribute to “the friend of France” who fought for peace and to stop conflicts.

“The death of Botros Botros-Ghali is that of a great Egyptian and a great servant of the UN, as Foreign Minister of Egypt, as Secretary General of the UN, as Secretary General of the Francophonie,” Xinhua quoted Hollande as saying on Tuesday.

The French president paid tribute to Botros-Ghali’s diplomatic efforts to promote peace as he “never stopped fighting to avert conflicts and bring people closer together while respecting their diversity.”

To Hollande, Botros-Ghali’s message for peace must “inspire the international community action at time the Middle East is experiencing new dramas.”

The former UN chief died earlier on Tuesday at the age of 93.

Born in 1922 in Egypt, the late diplomat served as UN chief from 1992 till 1996, becoming the first Arab to hold the post.

Returning home, Botros-Ghali headed the state’s National Council for Human Rights under former long-time President Hosni Mubarak.

In 2011, he resigned after Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising.

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