Kofi Annan - Center of the Storm


1997: Kofi Annan starts as Secretary-General
1997: Annan launches UN reform.
1999: NATO bombing of Yugoslavia begins.
1999: Annan apologizes for Rwanda genocide.

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Annan endorses NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. "It is indeed tragic that diplomacy has failed, but there are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace," Annan notes, but emphasizes the Security Council should have been consulted.

Learn more: PBS Online NewsHour
Full coverage and analysis of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.
UNMIK is established to administer the war-ravaged, breakaway Yugoslav province of Kosovo until its status is decided.

Learn more: UN UNMIK
United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo

Learn more: UN Frontline
Examine NATO's war with Serbia over Kosovo.
Refugees in East Timor East Timor votes for independence; militias respond with murderous rampage. After nearly 80 percent of the population votes yes for independence from Indonesia, militias with some Indonesian backing, launch a campaign of violence, looting and arson, killing thousands of Timorese, destroying schools and homes and forcing more than 200,000 East Timorese to flee to West Timor. Five UN staff are murdered. Peacekeeping troops arrive in September and in October the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) officially takes charge to prepare the country for independence.

Learn more: UN UNTAET
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor

Learn more: UN Online NewsHour
Background, news and more on the Pacific island nation.
UN distributes food at the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo and five African nations sign the Lusaka Peace Accords. After the six African countries (Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola) involved in the war in the DRC sign a cease-fire, the UN Security Council authorizes a 5,500-strong UN monitoring force, but fighting continues. In 2001, President Laurent Kabila is killed by a bodyguard and his son takes over. Peace talks start in South Africa in late 2002 to negotiate a power-sharing deal. Neighboring countries say they have pulled out most of their forces.

Learn more: UN MONUC
United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Learn more: NPR Weekend Edition
Overview of the conflict in Congo.
Annan apologizes for Rwanda tragedy upon receipt of independent investigators' report. The independent investigation faults the Security Council as well as the U.S., France and Belgium for failing to stop the genocide. "All of us must bitterly regret that we did not do more to prevent it. There was a United Nations force in the country at the time, but it was neither mandated nor equipped for the kind of forceful action which would have been needed to prevent or halt the genocide. On behalf of the United Nations, I acknowledge this failure and express my deep remorse."

Learn more: UN Independent Report on Rwanda
Read the findings of this landmark report.
Clinton at the Millennium Summit UN holds the "Millennium Summit." Gathering 189 heads of states to make a "moral recommitment" to the principles of the UN, Kofi Annan releases his report, "We the Peoples," on how the UN will face population growth, globalization, conflict, AIDS and other issues in the new century. "Many in the present generation are losing confidence in the ability of the United Nations to make the difference between war and peace," he tells the Security Council, reaffirming "only determined action... can restore the reputation of the United Nations as a credible force for peace and justice."

Learn more: UN Millennium Summit
The official UN site

Learn more: UN All Things Considered
An overview of the Millennium Summit.

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