Egypt buries veteran diplomat Boutros-Ghali with top honours

CAIRO -- Egypt on Thursday laid to rest its veteran diplomat Boutros Boutros-Ghali, holding a funeral procession with top honours in the capital, Cairo, followed by a service at the nation's largest Coptic cathedral for the man who was the first U.N.

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chief from Africa.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi led the procession, walking at the front of the cortege as a horse-drawn hearse carried Boutros-Ghali's flag-draped coffin. The head of Egypt's Coptic Church attended the service in Cairo, along with senior dignitaries.

Eulogizing Boutros-Ghali, the Coptic patriarch, Pope Tawadros II, said Egypt was bidding "farewell to this fine example in Egyptian life and in Egyptian history."

UNESCO chief Irina Bokova, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby as well as his predecessor Amr Moussa and other Egyptian ministers and officials attended the service at the Coptic Cathedral in the Abbassia district in Cairo.

Boutros-Ghali, who died on Tuesday at the age of 93, helped negotiate Egypt's landmark peace deal with Israel but then clashed with the United States when he served a single term as U.N. secretary-general.

The scion of a prominent Egyptian Christian political family, he was the first U.N. chief from the African continent, stepping into the post in 1992 at a time of dramatic world changes, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a unipolar era dominated by the United States.

His five years at the world body's helm remain controversial. He worked to establish the U.N.'s independence, particularly from the United States, at a time when the United Nations was increasingly called on to step into crises with peacekeeping forces, with limited resources.

Some blame him for misjudgments in the failures to prevent genocides in Africa and the Balkans and mismanagement of reform in the world body.


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