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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar y de la Guerra (born January 19, 1920, in Limamarker) is a Peruvianmarker diplomat who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991. He studied in Colegio San Agustín of Lima, and then at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perúmarker. In 1995, he ran unsuccessfully against Alberto Fujimori for President of Peru. He was President of the Council of Ministers, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs from November 2000 until July 2001, during the turbulent period following Fujimori's resignation over corruption charges. In September 2004, he stepped down from his position as Peru's Ambassador to Francemarker, where he formerly resided. He currently resides in Johor Bahrumarker, Malaysiamarker. With the death of Kurt Waldheim in June 2007, he became the oldest former Secretary General of the United Nations. Mr. Perez de Cuellar is currently a member of the International Olympic Committee's Ethics Commission, headquartered in Laussanne, Switzerland, as well as an adviser to both UNESCO, in Paris, France, and the International Red Cross, in Geneva, Switzerland.


Diplomatic career

Pérez de Cuéllar joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1940 and the diplomatic service in 1944, serving subsequently as Secretary at Peru's embassies in Francemarker, where he met and married his first wife, the former Yvette Roberts; the United Kingdommarker, Boliviamarker, and Brazilmarker. He later served as ambassador to Switzerlandmarker, the Soviet Unionmarker, (concurrently in Polandmarker), and Venezuelamarker. From his first marriage, Mr. Perez de Cuellar has a son, (Francisco, b. Paris), and a daughter, Agueda Cristina (b. London).

He was a junior member of the Peruvian delegation to the General Assembly at its first session - held in London in 1946-, and a member of the delegations to the 25th through 30th sessions of the Assembly. In 1971, he was appointed permanent representative of Peru to the United Nations, and he led his country's delegation to all sessions of the Assembly from then until 1975.

In 1973 and 1974, he represented his country in the Security Council, serving as its President at the time of the events in Cyprusmarker in July 1974. On 18 September 1975, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus a post he held until December 1977-, when he rejoined the Peruvian Foreign Service. During his time in Cyprus, Mr. Perez de Cuellar married his current wife, the former Marcela Temple Seminario, with whom he has no children.

On 27 February 1979, he was appointed as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs. From April 1981, while still holding this post, he acted as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative on the situation relating to Afghanistanmarker. In that capacity, he visited Pakistanmarker and Afghanistan in April and August of that year in order to continue the negotiations initiated by the Secretary-General some months earlier.

United Nations Secretary-General

On December 31, 1981, Pérez de Cuéllar succeeded Kurt Waldheim as Secretary-General and was re-elected for a second term in October 1986. During his two terms, he led mediations between Britainmarker and Argentinamarker in the aftermath of the Falklands War and promoted the efforts of the Contadora Group to bring peace and stability to Central America. He also interceded in the negotiations for the independence of Namibiamarker, the conflict in Western Saharamarker between Moroccomarker and the Polisario Front, and the Cyprus issue. Shortly before the end of his second term, he was unofficially requested by members of the Security Council to reconsider his earlier decision not to run for a third term, albeit shortened to two years, as a search for his successor had not, as of then, yielded a consensus candidate. Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar graciously declined the offer once a candidate was found, in late December 1991, his second term as Secretary-General concluding, as scheduled, on December 31, 1991.

On December 12, 1991, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush.

In popular culture

Pérez de Cuéllar was portrayed by Arturo Venegas in the 2002 BBC production of Ian Curteis's controversial The Falklands Play.


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