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Annan Praises Deceased Envoy

Annan Praises Deceased Envoy Sergio Vieira De Mello At Film Screening

New York, Jun 8 2005

"People in many countries, on almost every continent, remember Sergio Vieira de Mello as someone who was there to help them in their hour of need," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message to the screening of a film on the life of the UN envoy, killed nearly two years ago in Iraq.

"He dealt willingly with most daunting challenges…undertook the most uncomfortable assignments… [and] tackled the toughest missions," the Secretary-General said in his message. The screening of En Route to Baghdad, a film Mr. Vieira de Mello's life and work took place this evening at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.

The Secretary-General praised Mr. Vieira Mello's diplomatic skills, his courage and his compassion, characteristics that he said needed now more than ever in today's international community.

"There has probably never been a time in world affairs when the international community was in greater need of Sergio's qualities, character and courage than it is today," the Secretary-General said, adding that his Envoy's passing had left a "big void" in the UN family.

The terrorist bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003 killed 22 people, including Mr. Vieira de Mello who at that time was the top UN envoy in that country. The film was directed by the Brazilian journalist Simone Duarte.

ENDS

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