Boutros Boutros-Ghali

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This article is about the Egyptian diplomat. For his grandfather, the former Prime Minister of Egypt, see Boutros Ghali.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Naelachohanboutrosghali-2.jpg
Boutros-Ghali in March 2002
6th Secretary-General of the United Nations
In office
1 January 1992 – 31 December 1996
Preceded by Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Succeeded by Kofi Annan
Secretary General of La Francophonie
In office
16 November 1997 – 31 December 2002
Preceded by Jean-Louis Roy
Succeeded by Abdou Diouf
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Acting
In office
17 September 1978 – 17 February 1979
Prime Minister Mamdouh Salem
Mustafa Khalil
Preceded by Muhammad Ibrahim Kamel
Succeeded by Mustafa Khalil
In office
17 November 1970 – 15 December 1999
Prime Minister Mamdouh Salem
Preceded by Ismail Fahmi
Succeeded by Muhammad Ibrahim Kamel
Personal details
Born (1922-11-14) 14 November 1922 (age 91)
Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt
(now Cairo, Egypt)
Political party Arab Socialist Union (before 1978)
National Democratic Party (1978–2011)
Independent (2011–present)
Spouse(s) Leia Maria Boutros-Ghali
Alma mater Cairo University
Pantheon-Sorbonne University
Institute of Political Studies, Paris
Religion Coptic Orthodox Christianity

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (بطرس بطرس غالى Buṭrus Buṭrus Ghālī , Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈbotɾos ˈɣæːli]; born 14 November 1922) is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from January 1992 to December 1996. An academic and former Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt, Boutros Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the break-up of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan Genocide.

Early life and education[edit]

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was born in Cairo on 14 November 1922 into a Coptic Christian family.[1] His grandfather Boutros Ghali had been Prime Minister of Egypt from 1908 until he was assassinated in 1910.[2]

Boutros-Ghali graduated from Cairo University in 1946. He received a PhD in international law from the University of Paris and diploma in international relations from the Sciences Po in 1949. During 1949–1979, he was appointed Professor of International Law and International Relations at Cairo University. He became President of the Centre of Political and Strategic Studies in 1975 and President of the African Society of Political Studies in 1980. He was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Columbia University from 1954 to 1955, Director of the Centre of Research of the Hague Academy of International Law from 1963 to 1964, and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law at Paris University from 1967 to 1968. He is also the Honorary Rector of the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, a branch of Kyunghee University Seoul.

Political career[edit]

His political career developed during the presidency of Anwar El Sadat. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union from 1974 to 1977. He served as Egypt's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from 1977 until early 1991. He then became Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for several months before moving to the UN. As Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, he played a part in the peace agreements between President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.[3]

According to investigative journalist Linda Melvern, Boutros-Ghali approved a secret $26 million arms sale to the government of Rwanda in 1990 when he was Egyptian Foreign Minister, the weapons stockpiled by the Hutu regime as part of the fairly public, long-term preparations for the subsequent genocide. He was serving as UN Secretary-General when the killings occurred 4 years later.[4]

UN career[edit]

Elected as secretary-general, the top post of the UN, in 1991, Boutros-Ghali's term in office remains controversial. In 1992, he submitted An Agenda for Peace, a suggestion for how the UN could respond to violent conflict. However, he was criticised for the UN's failure to act during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which officially left over 1 million people dead, and he appeared unable to muster support in the UN for intervention in the continuing Angolan Civil War. One of the hardest tasks during his term was dealing with the crisis of the Yugoslav Wars after the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. His reputation became entangled in the larger controversies over the effectiveness of the UN and the role of the United States in the UN. Some Somalis believed he was responsible for an escalation of the Somalia crisis by undertaking a personal vendetta against Mohamed Farrah Aidid and his Habr Gidr clan, favouring their rivals, the Darod, clan of the former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. It was believed that he demanded 12 July 1993 US helicopter attack on a meeting of Habr Gidr clan leaders, who were meeting to discuss a peace initiative put forward by the leader of the UN Mission in Mogadishu, retired US Admiral Jonathan Howe. It is generally believed that the majority of the clan elders were eager to arrange a peace, and rein in the provocative activities of their clan leader, Mohamed Farrah Aidid, but after this attack on a peaceful meeting, the clan was resolved on fighting the Americans and the UN, leading to the Battle of Mogadishu on 3–4 October 1993.[5]

Nomination for second term[edit]

In 1996, ten Security Council members, led by African members Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Botswana, sponsored a resolution backing Boutros-Ghali for a second five-year term, until the year 2001. However, the United States vetoed a second term for Boutros-Ghali. In addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Italy did not sponsor the resolution, but the last three nations voted in support of Boutros-Ghali after the United States had firmly declared its intention to veto. Although not the first vetoed candidate (China vetoed the third term of Kurt Waldheim in 1981), Boutros-Ghali was the only UN secretary-general not to be elected to a second term in office. He was succeeded at the UN by Kofi Annan.

Richard Clarke, Michael Sheehan, and James Rubin participated in what they called "Operation Orient Express". Clarke wrote:

Albright and I and a handful of others (Michael Sheehan, Jamie Rubin) had entered into a pact together in 1996 to oust Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General of the United Nations, a secret plan we had called Operation Orient Express, reflecting our hope that many nations would join us in doing in the UN head. In the end, the US had to do it alone (with its UN veto) and Sheehan and I had to prevent the President from giving in to pressure from world leaders and extending Boutros-Ghali's tenure, often by our racing to the Oval Office when we were alerted that a head of state was telephoning the President. In the end Clinton was impressed that we had managed not only to oust Boutros-Ghali but to have Kofi Annan selected to replace him. (Clinton told Sheehan and me, 'Get me a crow, I should eat a crow, because I said you would never pull it off.')[6]

Richard Holbrooke wrote that the United States was opposed to Boutros-Ghali because of the latter's reluctance on approving NATO bombing in Bosnia (something that Kofi Annan supported). He notes that United States opposition to the Secretary General was opposed by all its allies.[7] Stanley Meisler, biographer of Kofi Annan, writes that Boutros Ghali's reluctance in bombing the Serbs in Bosnia stemmed from French and British opposition to the tactic, as both countries had provided most of the UN peacekeepers and feared that the Serbs would retaliate against their soldiers.

Meisler instead suggests that Clinton sought to veto Boutros Ghali's second term to increase his own popularity, as Senator Bob Dole, who was running against Clinton in 1996, had gotten a few votes by repeatedly denouncing Boutros-Ghali vehemently.[8]

Later life[edit]

From 1997 to 2002 Boutros-Ghali was Secretary-General of La Francophonie, an organisation of French-speaking nations. From 2003 to 2006, he served as the chairman of the board of the South Centre,[9] an intergovernmental research organisation of developing countries. He is currently President of the Curatorium Administrative Council at the Hague Academy of International Law. In 2003 Boutros-Ghali was appointed Director of the Egyptian National Council of Human Rights, which he remained until Autumn 2012.

Since April 2007 Boutros-Ghali has supported the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and was one of the initial signatories of the Campaign's appeal. In a message to the Campaign, he stressed the necessity to establish democratic participation of citizens at the global level.[10]

Since 2009 he also participates as jury member for the Conflict Prevention Prize[11] awarded every year by the Fondation Chirac.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Sarajevo Tango, comic book/ graphic novel by Hermann Huppen about Siege of Sarajevo and Bosnian War in general, and involvement of Ghali as UN secretary-general.
  • Jerry Seinfeld says, "Boutros Boutros-Ghali" in response to seeing George's girlfriend topless in episode 85, "The Hamptons."[12]
  • Boutros-Ghali appears as himself in the documentary film, Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace. In his interviews with Director Harry Hunkele, Boutros-Ghali describes his role and that of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in bringing about the peace accord between Egypt and Israel in March 1979.[13]
  • Boutros-Ghali's name was used in the comedic language on the BBC comedy The Fast Show, in the Chanel 9 sketches which parodied poor quality Latin, Greek, Southern Mediterranean style state television. The sketch always ended with the characters announcing "Boutros Boutros-Ghali" instead of "Goodbye".[14]
  • Boutros-Ghali was interviewed by Ali G, a character of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.[15] The interview appeared on the "War" episode of Da Ali G Show.,[16] in which he told viewers, 'I am Boutros Boutros Ghali; put down your guns and listen to Bob Marley'[17]
  • In the Yugoslav satirical comedy TV series Složna braća whose plot is set just after the Bosnian War in a fictional tiny rural enclave of the divided Bosnia under direct protection of the United Nations, the then-general secretary Boutros-Ghali's portrait is on prominent display in the enclave's inn[18] (reminiscent of how former Yugoslav president for life Josip Broz Tito's pictures used to be so prominently featured in his time there) and the protagonists that are feeling mistreated by whoever often threaten the wrongdoer (perceived or not) that they "will call Boutros" to intervene. And some indeed write him letters complaining of petty problems in the enclave and inviting him to come to the enclave for a good meal in the inn and that the local kids long to see "uncle Boutros".[citation needed]

Bibliography[edit]

As Secretary-General, Boutros-Ghali wrote An Agenda for Peace. He has also published two memoirs:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boutros Boutros-Ghali Biography, Encyclopedia of World Biography
  2. ^ Reid, Donald M. (1982). "Political Assassination in Egypt, 1910–1954". The International Journal of African Historical Studies 15 (4): 625–651. doi:10.2307/217848. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Boutros Boutros-Ghali: The world is his oyster". Weekly Ahram. 18 January 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Melvern, Linda (2000). A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide. London: Zed. ISBN 1-85649-830-1. Washington Monthly Review
  5. ^ Bowden, Mark (1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. New York: New American Library. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-451-20514-6. 
  6. ^ Clarke, Richard (2004). Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. New York: Free Press. p. 201. ISBN 0-7432-6024-4. 
  7. ^ Holbrooke, Richard (1999). To End a War. New York: Modern Library. p. 202. ISBN 0-375-75360-5. 
  8. ^ Stanley Meisler (18 October 1996). "Getting Rid of Boutros-Ghali". 
  9. ^ "South Centre website". Southcentre.org. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "MESSAGE FROM DR. BOUTROS BOUTROS GHALI" (PDF). International campaign for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. 
  11. ^ "The jury for the Conflict Prevention Prize awarded by the Fondation Chirac". Fondationchirac.eu. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "the Hamptons". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "49eme festival de télévision de Monte=Carlo" (Press release). tv festival.com. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Fast Show – Character Guide". BBC. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  15. ^ IMDb > "Da Ali G Show" War (2003). Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  16. ^ IMDb > "Da Ali G Show" (2003) > Episode list, "Season 1, Episode 2: War. Original Air Date—28 February 2003." Retrieved 29 August 2010
  17. ^ IMDb > "Da Ali G Show"
  18. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20131113102721/http://filmovi.chitte.rs/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/02312.jpg

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ismail Fahmi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Acting

1977
Succeeded by
Muhammad Ibrahim Kamel
Preceded by
Muhammad Ibrahim Kamel
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Acting

1978–1979
Succeeded by
Mustafa Khalil
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Secretary General of the United Nations
1992–1996
Succeeded by
Kofi Annan
Preceded by
Jean-Louis Roy
Secretary General of La Francophonie
1997–2002
Succeeded by
Abdou Diouf