Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Egyptian diplomat and the UN's sixth Secretary General, died Tuesday at age 93.
Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al-Ahram said he died in a hospital in Cairo, to which he had been admitted after suffering a broken pelvis.
Boutrous-Ghali was a Coptic Christian, and was married to an Egytian Jewish woman, Maria Leia. He taught international law at Cairo University for nearly two decades, until November 1977, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made his historic decision to fly to Israel.
When Sadat's anti-Israeli Egyptian foreign minister resigned in protest, Sadat put Boutros-Ghali in charge of the team that accompanied him to Jerusalem. Boutros-Ghali then led the Egyptian negotiations with Israel that prepared for the Camp David meetings between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin.
Boutrous-Ghali, who was steeped in French culture, got along well with his Israeli hosts, who reportedly began calling calling him Pierre (the French version of his name, which is the Arabic version of "Peter"). Later on, when Begin was cross with Boutrous-Ghali, he took to calling him "Peter," in what was perceived to be slight (Labor MKs claimed that "Peter" is a pejorative term used by Muslim Egyptians against Copts).
For the next 14 years, Boutros-Ghali was among Egypt's top diplomats, serving as acting foreign minister, deputy prime minister and secretary of state. However, the post of Foreign Minister was denied him, because of Egyptian political arrangements that reserve the post to Muslims.
In 1992, Boutrous-Ghali was appointed UN Secretary General. Ghali lost favor with the United States over the next four years. According to the Washington Post, He was "reluctant to institute many reforms demanded by Washington because their implementation would cause substantial cuts in many UN jobs and programs favored by the members of the developing world who were his hard-core support base."
His greatest clash with the Clinton Administration was over the civil war in Bosnia. The US did not accept Boutros-Ghali's insistence on UN control of the international peace-keeping force operating in Bosnia, and fumed at his refusal to let British and French officers commanding most of the force authorize airstrikes against the Serbs.
Led by Madeleine K. Albright — then the US ambassador to the UN — the US stymied Boutrous-Ghali's 1996 bid for reelection and brought about the election of Washington’s preferred candidate, Kofi Annan of Ghana.