Tánaiste statement on death of former UN Secretary General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Statement05 March 2020
It is with much sadness that I have learned today of the death of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, a distinguished career diplomat from Peru who led the United Nations during a tumultuous decade, from 1982 to 1991.
During these years, and especially from the mid-1980s, as the world emerged from the Cold War, numerous conflicts and disputes dominated the international agenda. Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar won confidence and trust across the international community, enabling him personally to play a key Good Offices role in bringing many of these situations to peaceful, agreed outcomes.
These included the decade-long war between Iran and Iraq; the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan; the peace agreement in El Salvador and Central America; the situation across Indo China; the bringing about of independence and majority rule in Namibia, an exemplar UN process that paved the way for the peaceful transition in South Africa.
Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar steered the UN Organization through the institutionally demanding period at the end of the Cold War. He played an important behind the scenes role in support of a peaceful transition in Europe and at the global level. It was entirely fitting that, during his tenure as Secretary-General, the UN peacekeeping forces were awarded the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize for work in Mozambique and Angola.
Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar cooperated closely with Ireland throughout his decade in office as United Nations Secretary-General, beginning with our two-year tenure on the UN Security Council in 1981-1982. He was a friend of Ireland. He retained the services of an Irish diplomatic official as a close aide throughout the years of his many achievements. He will be well and warmly remembered in this country.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
5 MARCH 2020