Peruvian politician and diplomat Javier Perez de Cuellar, who served as the United Nations’ fifth secretary-general throughout the 1980s, has died at the age of 100, Peruvian officials confirmed late on Wednesday.
“As a lawyer, diplomat and as secretary-general of the United Nations he always demonstrated his human quality and concern for the most vulnerable,” Peru’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights said in a tweet. “Today we send our condolences to their relatives and loved ones for such a terrible loss.”
Heading up the UN between 1982 and 1991 and later serving a brief stint as Peru’s prime minister in 2000, Perez de Cuellar’s diplomatic career was a long and storied one, mediating hostilities between the United Kingdom and Argentina during the Falklands War in the early 1980s, soon after taking up the UN’s top post. He would also play a role in brokering negotiations between Serbs and Croats during the Yugoslav wars, as well as talks to settle fighting in the Western Sahara, where leftist rebels sought to end Morocco’s presence in the region.
Surviving a heart attack in 2005, the diplomat later became both the oldest former prime minister in Peruvian history, as well as the oldest former UN chief. He was honored with a number of awards throughout his lengthy career, including an honorary doctorate at the National University of San Marcos in Peru.