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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

Pérez de Cuéllar, Javier, 1920–, Peruvian diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (1982–92). He entered the Peruvian foreign service in 1940 and served in several posts, including ambassador to the USSR (1969–71) and the United Nations (1971–75). He represented the United Nations on the Cyprus problem (1975–78) before being elected (1982) to succeed Kurt Waldheim as secretary-general. Serving two terms, he restored UN prestige, aided by the end of the cold war, and was a strong advocate of its peacekeeping efforts. He personally negotiated the cease-fire (1988) that ended the Iran-Iraq War, secured the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and brokered the 1991 Cambodian peace accord. Under his leadership UN negotiators obtained the release of the Americans held hostage in Lebanon, and he personally negotiated a peace pact between El Salvador's government and rebels. He was succeeded by Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt. Pérez de Cuéllar was an unsuccessful candidate for the Peruvian presidency in 1995. In 2000 he was appointed Peruvian prime minister by interim president Valentín Paniagua.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Peru History: Biographies

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