Press Releases

    SG/SM/9138
    DEV/2455
    2 February 2004

    Death of Richard Conroy, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, Is Loss to Entire United Nations Family, Secretary-General Says in Message to Memorial Service

    NEW YORK, 30 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the memorial service for Richard Conroy, United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, delivered by Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York today:

    The death of Richard Conroy is a loss to the entire United Nations family.  Richard was not only an exceptionally dedicated and talented colleague; he was also a thoroughly decent human being.  We were deeply fortunate to know him and to work with him.

    Richard possessed a rare blend of qualities, professional and personal, that epitomized the characteristics needed to represent the United Nations in the field.  When I met Richard on a visit to Uzbekistan a year and a half ago, I was impressed by his commitment to the United Nations’ goals and ideals, his expertise in the work for development, and his knowledge of the region.  But I was equally struck by his integrity and engagement, his warmth and generosity of spirit, and his infallible good cheer.  Richard’s smile was special, and I know he often used his sense of humour to ease tensions and encourage those around him in daunting situations.

    And daunting situations there were many in Richard’s work over the past few years.  When he took up his duties in Uzbekistan in 2001, two weeks after September 11th, he was immediately plunged into one of the most challenging periods in the history of the region.  There could have been no one better equipped to rise to the task than Richard.  Thanks to his energy and determination, we were able to open the Friendship Bridge to Afghanistan, allowing crucial humanitarian assistance to flow in from the Uzbek border town of Termez to the Afghan people in their hour of need.  It was his ability to mobilize and motivate the entire UN Country Team that helped to ensure the success of that critical endeavour.  And it is the cruellest of ironies that he lost his life while returning from a mission to Termez two weeks ago.

    Today, our hearts go out to Richard’s wife, Anna, his family and his many friends around the world.  They go out to Richard’s colleagues in Uzbekistan, who will miss him deeply.  So will those who worked with him in India, Sri Lanka and China, as well as all the rest of us who had the pleasure of knowing him and working with him.  We know that Richard leaves the finest legacy possible -- the hope that he gave to the people he worked to help.

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