United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today paid tribute to the slain Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, remembering her as an exceptional human being who was able to reach out to every generation, across every national border or cultural boundary.
In a message delivered by UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell during a memorial service in Stockholm, Mr. Annan said, "You have gathered today to honour one of Sweden's greatest and most beloved daughters. For the United Nations, Anna Lindh was in many ways also a family member.
"The senseless and incomprehensible act that took her life a week ago was met with an outpouring of grief and disbelief in the whole international community. Today, the entire UN family stands with you – with Anna's husband, children, friends and loved ones, and with all the people and Government of Sweden," he stated.
"Since her death, a sky of lead hangs over Sweden and the international community – but Anna leaves a legacy of light which sets a standard for us all," the Secretary-General noted. "Her profound commitment to peace, justice, development and human rights embodied the very principles for which the United Nations stands."
Ms. Lindh was not only instrumental in defining and developing Sweden's role in Europe and in the UN, she also worked to strengthen the relationship between the world body and the European Union, he noted.
Reacting to the news of her death, Mr. Annan last week said Ms. Lindh was a strong ally who really "believed in what the United Nations stood for, and generally believed that countries have to work across borders and cooperate to get things done. And in fact, I think she was one of those unapologetic multilateralists, and we will miss her."