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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.JPG
Secretary-General of the United Nations

In office
January 1, 1982 – December 31, 1991
Preceded by Kurt Waldheim
Succeeded by Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Prime Minister of Peru

In office
November 22, 2000 – July 28, 2001
President Valentín Paniagua
Preceded by Federico Salas
Succeeded by Roberto Dañino Zapata
Personal details
Born Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
January 19, 1920(1920-01-19) (age 100)
Lima, Peru
Nationality Peruvian
Spouse(s) Marcela Temple Seminario
Religion Roman Catholic

Javier Felipe Ricardo Pérez de Cuéllar y de la Guerra (born January 19, 1920) is a Peruvian diplomat who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991. 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 France, where he formerly resided. With the death of Kurt Waldheim in June 2007, he became the oldest former Secretary General of the United Nations. He is also a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 80 former Presidents and Prime Ministers of democratic countries, which works to strengthen democracy worldwide.[1]


Early yearsEdit

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was born on January 19, 1920, in the Peruvian city of Lima. He studied in Colegio San Agustín of Lima, and then at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

Diplomatic careerEdit

Pérez de Cuéllar joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1940 and the diplomatic service in 1944, serving subsequently as Secretary at Peru's embassy in France, where he met and married his first wife, the former Yvette Roberts (d.Lisbon, 2013). He also held posts in the United Kingdom, Bolivia, and Brazil, and later served as ambassador to Switzerland, the Soviet Union, (concurrently in Poland), and Venezuela. 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 first session of the General Assembly, which convened 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 Cyprus in July 1974. On September 18, 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 second wife, the former Marcela Temple Seminario (d.Brussels, 2013), with whom he had no children.

On February 27, 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 Afghanistan. In that capacity, he visited Pakistan 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-GeneralEdit

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 Britain and Argentina 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 Namibia, the conflict in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front, and the Cyprus issue. He also presided in 1986 an international arbitration committee that ruled [1] on the Rainbow Warrior incident between New Zealand and France. Shortly before the end of his second term, he rejected an unofficial request by members of the Security Council to reconsider his earlier decision not to run for a third term, shortened to two years, as a search for his successor had not, as of then, yielded a consensus candidate. A candidate was found in late December 1991, and his second term as Secretary-General concluded, 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 cultureEdit

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



External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Kurt Waldheim
United Nations Secretary-General
Succeeded by
Boutros Boutros-Ghali

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