Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former U.N. Secretary General that led the institution during a delicate time after the Cold War and was the first leader from Africa to step in the position, passed away today at the age of 93.

The once head of the U.N. died in a hospital in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. He was previously admitted for a broken leg, but he also suffered heart and kidney problems, according to Egypt’s state news agency MENA.

The U.N. Security Council announced Boutros-Ghali’s death this morning, as the 15-member later offered their respect to the deceased leader over a moment of silence in the room.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali passed away today at the age of 93 in a hospital in Giza. Photo credit: David Guttenfelder / ABC7
Boutros Boutros-Ghali passed away today at the age of 93 in a hospital in Giza. Photo credit: David Guttenfelder / ABC7

In New York, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed, at the U.N. headquarters, his predecessor as a respected statesman who brought invaluable achievements to the organization during one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in history, according to United Nations News Centre.

Secretary General said that during his predecessor’s functions, he presided over a dramatic UN peacekeeping. He added that Boutros-Ghali also lead the institutions at a time when the world increasingly turned to the United Nations for solutions to its problems.

“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. His commitment to the United Nations was unmistakable, and the mark he has left on the Organization is indelible,” the Secretary General said in a statement.

Troubling relations with the U.S

The deceased also had his critics over his career and achievements at the United Nations. Boutros-Ghali as he was celebrated for other things he also was criticized over his failure to manage the crisis in Rwanda and Bosnia when the genocide took place.

Boutros-Ghali also had a difficult relation with the incoming Clinton administration at his time of leadership. Political infighting and frictions between UN Secretary General and Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine K. Albright, Washington’s representative at the time, led to troubles from the very beginning.

Frustrations over the Clinton administration’s pattern of voting for tough Security Council resolution grew over time for Boutros-Ghali. Later, the refusing of the U.S to support the actions on the ground had its paradigm in the civil war that raged from 1992 to 1995 in the former Yugoslavia, as reported by the New York Times.

The up and down relations ended in a veto for Boutros-ghali’s second turn for Secretary General by Albright, in her last days as American delegate. Boutros-Ghali as the first Secretary General from Africa, also became the first to be denied a second term.

Source: United Nations News Centre