The Permanent Missions of Mali and Angola, Mr. Donald Steinberg and Mr. Paul Hare of the International Crisis Group-- thank you for bringing us together to remember Alioun Blondin Beye and seven of his colleagues who died in the line of duty on that fateful day 10 years ago.
I would also like to recognize Maître Beye's widow, Kadiatu Sall-Beye and his son Mema.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Caught-up in the rush of day-to-day demands here at the United Nations, it is rare that we stop to recognize the lives of individuals who have worked to build the foundations upon which our present work stands. Colleagues who paid the ultimate price in search of peace for all humanity:
Maître Beye of Mali; Koffi Adjoyi of Togo; Captain Alvaro Costa of Portugal; Baendegar Dessande of Chad; Amadou Moctar Gueye of Senegal; Jason Hunter of South Africa; Andrew McCurrah also of South Africa and Ibikunle Williams of Nigeria.
I could not possibly enumerate all the trials and obstacles faced by Maître Beye in his quest to better the lives of others. Most of you are already aware of his invaluable contributions, and I'm afraid I would overstay my welcome if I were to recount every single incident in which he managed to overcome extremely complex and delicate problems with his quiet wisdom.
Suffice to say: in an age where words are often seen as more valuable than the actions behind them, Maître Beye was one of those rare individuals who walked the talk. When former Secretary-General Ghali invited Maître Beye to become his Special Representative to Angola in 1993, it was no surprise. His credentials fit the bill. His patience and intuitive understanding of the complexities involved were equal to the task.
Within the short time Maître Beye and his colleagues worked on behalf of the Angolan people, he was the driving force in promoting healing within the country war-torn. It was, in part, due to the force of his personal will, skills and determination that the Lusaka Protocol to end the civil conflict was signed in the Zambian capital on 20 November 1994.
Yet he remained humble and focused on serving people first. Of all the honors he was awarded by governments and parliaments around the world, he often said that his most prized honor was the fact that many Angolan parents named their new-born children after him.
Promoting any peace process is a Sisyphean task, even on the best of days. It takes intelligence, it takes perseverance and it takes an ability to execute. Maître Beye possessed all three qualities in abundance. His intelligence was matched with humility, and his dedication to a more peaceful world was matched by action. It is an honor for me to pay tribute to someone I consider one of the finest examples of a true statesman. Maître Beye was that man.
# # #