U.N. confirms death of Haiti mission chief Annabi

UNITED NATIONS Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:08pm EST

U.N. envoy to Haiti Hedi Annabi speaks to the media after his meeting with Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Brasilia January 21, 2008. REUTERS/Jamil Bittar

U.N. envoy to Haiti Hedi Annabi speaks to the media after his meeting with Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Brasilia January 21, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jamil Bittar

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. mission chief in Haiti, Hedi Annabi of Tunisia, died in Tuesday's earthquake that devastated the country's capital, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Saturday.

He was believed to be 65.

In a statement, Ban also confirmed the death of Annabi's deputy, Brazilian Luiz Carlos da Costa, and of the acting U.N. police commissioner in Haiti, Doug Coates of Canada.

Ban gave no details of how the bodies of the three men had been found, but the world body said earlier this week they were under the rubble of the Hotel Christopher, the U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince, and could be alive or dead.

Haitian President Rene Preval said Wednesday that Annabi had died, but the United Nations said at the time it could not yet confirm that.

Annabi is the first U.N. mission chief to die in the line of duty since Sergio Vieira de Mello of Brazil was killed along with 14 other U.N. staff when a truck bomb exploded outside the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in 2003.

Ban described Annabi as "the gold standard of service against which all who had the privilege to work with him were measured." He hailed the Tunisian's "unparalleled work ethic -- he was the first in and the last out every day for his entire career."

After working in the Tunisian foreign service, Annabi joined the United Nations in 1981. For nearly a decade he worked on a political settlement in Cambodia before joining the U.N. peacekeeping department where he rose to be an assistant secretary-general. He had held the Haiti job since 2007.

Ban said of Annabi, da Costa and Coates that "in every sense of the word, they gave their lives for peace."

By Friday, the U.N. death toll in Haiti had stood at 37. The deaths announced by Ban would raise that to at least 40, but U.N. official expect it ultimately to rise well over 100.

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Alan Elsner)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
traveler10 wrote:
May they rest in peace!

Jan 16, 2010 10:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.