UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations General Assembly on Monday held a plenary meeting to mourn the death of Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno.
“On behalf of the United Nations, I reiterate my deepest condolences to his family, to the Government and to the people of Chad,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the gathering that paid tribute to the late Chadian leader.
“President Deby worked tirelessly for the stability of his country, the sub-region and the entire African continent. He transformed Chad into an influential regional power that has played a key role in the region, from the Sahel to the Lake Chad Basin,” said the UN chief.
“Under his leadership – and this is something I personally witnessed – Chad has opened its doors to thousands of refugees from neighboring countries, generously hosting them and sharing its limited resources with them,” he added.
Noting that Deby has been a key partner for the United Nations, notably in the fight against terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime, Guterres said that at this pivotal time for Chad, “I wish to underline the strong commitment of the United Nations to serve the people of Chad in their quest for an inclusive and prosperous future.”
The secretary-general expressed the hope that “in the coming days Chadians will be able to find, together, a consensual and peaceful path to the future.”
“This will be essential to continue progress towards sustainable peace, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening democracy and the protection of human rights for all,” he said.
President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Volkan Bozkir said at the meeting that Chad has been a member of the United Nations since 1960.
“And for over 60 years now, the United Nations has supported the Government of Chad to implement policies that will address peace and security, sustainable development and human rights challenges. This is demonstrated today by the 14 UN programs and agencies that are active in the country and working within the ‘Delivering as One’ approach.”
“Like in so many countries around the world, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Chad are being undermined by insecurity in the region. President Deby was known for his proactive approach to peace and security,” said the UNGA president.
Bozkir added that under the leadership of Deby, “Chad remained a reliable UN partner on issues of regional stability, particularly as part of efforts to combat terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime in the Sahel.”
“As part of that commitment to peace and security, Chad also makes a significant contribution in peacekeepers and is one of the UN’s 14 major troop contributing countries,” he added.
Bozkir noted that Chad is also a member of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and is currently supporting the mission to “neutralize armed groups, help national reconciliation, and establish stable democratic institutions in Libya.”
“Chad’s commitment to multilateralism goes beyond the United Nations. Chad plays an important role on the African continent and held the Chairmanship of the African Union in 2016,” added the UNGA president.
“Today, we honor the accomplishments of President Deby, which will long be remembered here at the United Nations,” he said.
“I wish the family of the President and the people of Chad well as they mourn this great loss,” the UNGA president concluded. Deby died on April 20 from injuries on the frontline of a fight against rebels, the spokesperson for the Chadian army, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, said on national television the following day.