I am profoundly saddened at the passing of my predecessor, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
He was an accomplished statesman, a committed diplomat and a personal inspiration who left a profound impact on the United Nations and our world.
Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar’s life spanned not only a century but also the entire history of the United Nations, dating back to his participation in the first meeting of the General Assembly in 1946.
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. 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.
I extend my deepest condolences to Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar’s family, the Peruvian people and so many others around the world whose lives were touched by a remarkable and compassionate global leader who left our world a far better place.