Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who served a turbulent five-year term ending in 1996, died Tuesday in his native Cairo.
The Security Council observed a minute of silence in his honor.
Boutros-Ghali, 93, was the first African to assume the U.N.'s top post, but his run as secretary-general ended when the United States vetoed his nomination for a second five-year term.
Boutros-Ghali was a popular choice in the U.S. when he first took the job, but a series of clashes with U.S. policy doomed his U.N. career. Perhaps the biggest conflict was financial -- Congress repeatedly balked at the high cost of dues paid to the U.N.
He was replaced by another African, Ghanaian Kofi Annan.
In his farewell speech to the U.N., Boutros-Ghali said he had thought when he took the post that the time was right for the United Nations to play an effective role in a world no longer divided into warring Cold War camps.
“But the middle years of this half decade were deeply troubled,” he said. “Disillusion set in.”
In a 2005 interview with The Associated Press, Boutros-Ghali called the 1994 massacre in Rwanda — in which half a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days — “my worst failure at the United Nations.”
But he blamed the United States, Britain, France and Belgium for paralyzing action by setting impossible conditions for intervention. Then-U.S. President Bill Clinton and other world leaders were opposed to taking strong action to beef up U.N. peacekeepers in the tiny Central African nation or intervening to stop the massacres.
“The concept of peacekeeping was turned on its head and worsened by the serious gap between mandates and resources,” he told AP.