Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose term was marked by war in the former Yugoslavia, famine and genocide in Africa and confrontation with the United States, died on Tuesday. He was 93, Reuters reported.
The 15-member U.N. Security Council observed a minute's silence after the death was announced on Tuesday by Venezuelan U.N. Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, head of the Security Council for February.
An Egyptian, Boutros-Ghali served as U.N. chief from 1992 to 1996. He died at Al Salam Hospital in Cairo on Tuesday, an official at the hospital said.
As the United Nations' first secretary-general from Africa, Boutros-Ghali associated himself with the famine in Somalia and organized the first massive U.N. relief operation in the Horn of Africa nation.
But success eluded him there and elsewhere as the United Nations tottered in an increasingly disorderly post-communist world, with the world body and the big Security Council powers underestimating the deep animosity behind many conflicts.
Boutros-Ghali, who had a reputation for being proud and prickly, also took on the daunting task of reorganizing the U.N. bureaucracy by slashing posts and demoting officials at a pace that earned him the nickname "the pharaoh."
But Washington had wanted him to do more to reform the body and the U.S. Congress would not pay more than $1 billion in back dues while he remained at the helm.
Many diplomats suggested he was jettisoned by U.S. President Bill Clinton's Democratic administration during an election year to pre-empt criticism from Republicans deeply hostile to Boutros-Ghali and the United Nations.
In 1996, 10 Security Council members led by African states sponsored a resolution backing him for a second five-year term but the United States vetoed Boutros-Ghali when his reappointment came up for a vote.