Former UN chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali dead at 93

Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a blunt-spoken Egyptian who led the world body through global turmoil as it defined its peacekeeping role and lost his job over disputes with Washington, died on Tuesday aged 93, Reuters reports.

Boutros-Ghali headed the United Nations from 1992-1996, chaotic years marked by war in the former Yugoslavia and famine and genocide in Africa. He died at Al Salam Hospital in Cairo on Tuesday, a hospital official said. Egypt’s state news agency MENA said he had a broken leg and heart and kidney problems.

The 15-member UN Security Council observed a minute’s silence after his death was announced.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement praising Boutros-Ghali for leading the organization through “one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history.”

“He showed courage in posing difficult questions to the member states and rightly insisted on the independence of his office and of the secretariat as a whole,” Ban said.

Boutros-Ghali came from a wealthy family with an impressive political lineage and he bridged several realms. As an Egyptian, he was able to claim to be both Arab and African. He was a Coptic Christian from a mainly Muslim country and married an Egyptian Jew, who converted to his religion.

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