PM Lee Hsien Loong lauds former UN sec-gen Kofi Annan's achievements

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan meeting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in February 2010. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reminisced Mr Kofi Annan's powerful lecture in Singapore way back in 2000 on the importance of international law and order in a condolence letter lauding the achievements of the former United Nations Secretary-General.

Mr Annan, who died on Saturday (Aug 18), was in Singapore in 2000 to deliver the Singapore Lecture on "Global Values: The United Nations and the Rule of Law in the 21st Century".

"He spoke eloquently of the need to maintain an international order 'based on something better than the grim maxim that might is right', and the value of international law to countries both big and small," said PM Lee in his letter on Monday (Aug 20) to Mr Annan's wife, Mrs Nane Annan.

"His belief in the international system underpinned the sweeping changes he led during his time as UN Secretary-General," Mr Lee noted.

Mr Annan continued to promote global peace, security and sustainable development even after stepping down as Secretary-General, through his good work in the Kofi Annan Foundation and as Joint Special Representative for Syria and as Head of the Advisory Commission on the Rakhine State, said Mr Lee.

Calling Mr Annan "a tireless global statesman", Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said Mr Annan successfully strengthened the UN's central role in international affairs, and promoted global peace, security and sustainable development.

"I have fond memories of our interactions during Mr Annan's first official visit to Singapore with you in 2000," Mr Goh wrote in his condolence letter to Mrs Annan on Saturday.

"I also had the privilege of hosting Mr Annan to dinner in February 2010 when he was in Singapore as the first Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Li Ka-shing scholar."

Mr Annan, who served as the first UN secretary-general from sub-Saharan Africa, died aged 80 after an unspecified short illness, according to a statement from his family and the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, describing Mr Annan as a "strong supporter of multilateralism", said the late Ghanaian diplomat will be fondly remembered for strengthening the global institutional framework for peace and security.

"In forging consensus towards the Millennium Development Goals during his time as UNSG , he laid the foundation for our approach towards sustainable development and a more peaceful and secure future today," Dr Balakrishnan wrote in his condolence message to his Ghanaian counterpart Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.

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