Around 6,000 mourners packed the auditorium for Thursday’s official service – the climax of a multi-day funeral ceremony, which has seen his coffin, draped in the Ghanaian national colours, displayed for public viewing.
In an address, Guterres hailed Annan, who served as the seventh UN Secretary-General between 1997 and 2006, as an exceptional global leader with a deep faith in the role of the UN as a force for good.
“As we face the headwinds of our troubled and turbulent times, let us always be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan,” Guterres said.
“Our world needs it now more than ever,” he said.
On Wednesday, Annan’s family and Ghanaian dignitaries were among hundreds to file past his casket amid traditional rites by local chiefs and clan leaders.
Annan, a Ghanaian of Ashanti lineage, was granted a royal title by the Ashanti king in 2002.
The elders said the rites, including presenting him with clothing and water, were necessary to clear the path for a peaceful “travel” for their royal.
Some mourners, like New York-based community mayor Delois Blakely, had flown long distances to pay their respects.
Blakely, who served as an ambassador of goodwill to Africa at the UN, told Reuters: “I had known and worked with Kofi for close to 10 years.
He spent his life trying hard to fix our broken society.”
NAN reports that as UN boss he was linked to peace efforts to reunite the divided island of Cyprus, submitting a reunification blueprint which was rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots in 2004.
He staunchly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and later served as the first UN envoy at the start of Syria’s war, but quit after world powers failed to fulfil their commitments, saying: “I lost my troops on the way to Damascus”. (Reuters)