Netanyahu Praises Late Kofi Annan for Fighting anti-Semitism, Holocaust Denial

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized the late Kofi Annan Saturday, former Secretary General of the United Nations, "as an accomplished man in the international arena and as someone who fought anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial." 

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Netanyahu offered condolences to Annan’s wife, Nane Maria Annan, and the late diplomat’s three children.

Following Annan’s death in Switzerland on Saturday, tributes were paid from around the world.

The Foreign Ministry praised him as "a pillar of multilateral diplomacy, Nobel Prize laureate and statesman who devoted his life to achieving world peace, reducing poverty and fighting child mortality.

File photo: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrives at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 29, 2006. AP

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"During his term, Annan opposed attempts to delegitimize Israel, fought strongly against Holocaust denial and supported the 2006 U.N. initiative for Holocaust Memorial Day," the statement continued. "The State of Israel extends its condolences to Secretary General Annan’s family."

"In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama eulogized Annan as "a diplomat and humanitarian who embodied the mission of the United Nations like few others. His integrity, persistence, optimism, and sense of our common humanity always informed his outreach to the community of nations. Long after he had broken barriers, Kofi never stopped his pursuit of a better world, and made time to motivate and inspire the next generation of leaders." 

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Annan "devoted his life to making the world a more peaceful place through his compassion and dedication to service. He worked tirelessly to unite us and never stopped fighting for the dignity of every person." 

British Prime Minister Theresa May called Annan a "great leader and reformer of the UN, he made a huge contribution to making the world he has left a better place than the one he was born into." 

"Kofi Annan never gave up working for the good in the world," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "[He] knew how to get people engaged, and became a role model, especially for young people all over the world."

Former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat walks with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s after they concluded talks in Gaza, October 10, 2000 Ahmed Jadallah/ REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin also issued a statement, saying: 

"Many years of the life of this remarkable person and great politician were devoted to the service of the United Nations. Heading the UN at a difficult time, he did a great deal to realize the purposes and the goals of the organization, strengthening its central role in world affairs. His personal contribution to building the UN’s peacekeeping potential, as well as in the settlement of a number of regional conflicts, was particularly significant. 
I sincerely admired his wisdom and courage, his ability to make balanced decisions even in the most difficult, critical situations." 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lauded Annan as a "towering global leader and an unwavering champion for peace, justice and rule of law. Rest in peace my dear old friend." 

Nana Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana, where Annan was born when it was still known as the Gold Coast, said: "Consummate international diplomat and highly respected former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan was the first from sub-Saharan Africa to occupy this exalted position. He brought considerable renown to our country by this position and through his conduct and comportment in the global arena. He was an ardent believer in the capacity of the Ghanaian to chart his or her own course onto the path of progress and prosperity."