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Secretary-General saddened at death of Leopold Sedar-Senghor

Secretary-General saddened at death of Leopold Sedar-Senghor

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed his deep sadness on learning of the death of Leopold Sedar-Senghor, first President of Senegal and father of Senegalese democracy.

In a statement, Annan stated that as a statesman and a co-founder of the Organization of the African Unity (OAU), President Sedar-Senghor was a tireless pioneer of cooperation on the African continent. As an intellectual and a poet, he was a powerful champion of African dignity and an advocate of dialogue among civilizations, Annan also said.

President Sedar-Senghor stood out as a leader committed to peace, justice, development and education, and laid the foundation for what was to become Senegal's tradition of democratic and peaceful transfer of power, the statement said.

Sedar-Senghor was President of Senegal from 1960 until his retirement in 1980. In addition to being a founding member of the OAU, President Sedar-Senghor was a poet of considerable reputation, a member of the Académie Française and, together with Martinique writer Aimé Césaire, the founder of the artistic and cultural movement Negritude - a predecessor of the Black Consciousness movement.