United Nations, Mar 4 : Former UN chief Javier Perez de Cuellar died on Wednesday in Lima, the capital of his native country Peru, according to the local media. Perez de Cuellar was the fifth person to serve as the UN secretary general.
He served in that capacity for two terms, from 1982 to 1991, succeeding Kurt Waldheim. Born on January 19, 1920 in Lima, de Cuellar joined his country's diplomatic services in 1944 and served as his country's ambassador to Switzerland, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Venezuela. He was part of the Peruvian delegation to the first session of the General Assembly, in London in 1946 and in 1971, he was appointed Peru's permanent representative to the United Nations, and he led his country's delegation to all sessions of the Assembly until 1975. In 1973 and 1974, he represented his country in the Security Council.
He was the President of the Security Council when Turkish forces invaded the island of Cyprus in July 1974. On September 18, 1975, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus – a post he held until December 1977, when he rejoined the Peruvian Foreign Service.
On February 27, 1979, he was appointed as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special political affairs. From April 1981, while still holding this post, he acted as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion of the country.
During his two terms, de Cuellar led mediation between Britain and Argentina in the aftermath of the Falklands War. He also promoted the efforts of the Contadora Group to bring peace and stability to Central America. He interceded in the negotiations for the independence of Namibia, the conflict in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the war between Croatian forces seeking independence and the Yugoslav federal as well as local Serb forces, and the Cyprus issue. His term also witnessed the Iran-Iraq war, the end of the Cold War and the first Gulf War.
In 1995 he unsuccessfully ran against Alberto Fujimori for President of Peruand following Fujimori's resignation over corruption charges, he became Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs from November 2000 until July 2001. In January this year UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent greetings to Perez de Cuellar for his 100th birthday. (UNI)