Tributes poured in yesterday for Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the former United Nations secretary general who mediated Namibian independence from South Africa. De Cuéllar, who died Wednesday at the age of 100, considered the 1990 independence of Namibia as his greatest accomplishment as secretary general.
Leading the tributes was President Hage Geingob who lauded the sterling role of De Cuéllar in directing the work of the UN for an independent Namibia. “Secretary General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar played a pivotal role in steering UN efforts for an independent Namibia,” said Geingob.
“Our transition to independence was difficult and I credit De Cuéllar for his visionary leadership in directing the affairs of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) and the broader UN family. His understanding of Namibia’s struggle for freedom and independence, and his unique insights on difficult issues, were key to laying the foundation for peaceful elections and our transition to independence on 21 March 1990. May the soul of this brilliant son of the global south rest in peace.”
De Cuéllar served as UN secretary general from 1981 to 1991. National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi said De Cuéllar was deeply involved in the run-up to Namibia’s independence, including during negotiations at the UN Security Council for the attainment of the country’s freedom.
“He was always in the middle of negotiations between Namibia and South Africa. He was a prominent figure and was in the country on the eve of independence to hand over the torch to President Sam Nujoma,” he said yesterday.
A minute’s silence was held in his honour at yesterday’s National Assembly sitting.
Former New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) CEO Protasius Ndauendapo vividly remembered the former UN chief during 1990. “Javier Pérez de Cuéllar helped deliver Namibia’s independence in 1990, and for the first time in the history of the United Nations Organisation, he administered the oath of office of Founding President Cde. Sam Nujoma, an event I witnessed and covered, as a journalist, at Independence Stadium in Windhoek. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues at the UN. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.
The Peruvian, who will be buried today, also played a crucial role in ending the Iran-Iraq war in the late 80s, securing the release of American hostages held in Lebanon and in peace agreements in Cambodia and El Salvador, the UN said.
2020-03-06 08:25:19 | 4 months ago