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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (born January 19, 1920) was the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1982 to December 1991. In 1995, he ran unsuccessfully against Fujimori for president of Peru. A lawyer and a career diplomat, he is now retired.

Mr. Pérez was born in Lima, Peru. He joined the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1940 and the diplomatic service in 1944, serving subsequently as Secretary at the Peruvian embassies in France, the United Kingdom, Bolivia, and Brazil. He later served as ambassador of Peru to Switzerland, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Venezuela.

He was a member of the Peruvian delegation to the General Assembly at its first session in 1946 and a member of the delegations to the twenty-fifth to thirtieth 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 President of the Council at the time of the events in Cyprus in July 1974. On 18 September 1975, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus post he held until December 1977, when he rejoined the Peruvian Foreign Service.

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 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.

In December, 1981, Mr. Pérez 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.

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Preceded by:
Kurt Waldheim
United Nations Secretaries-General Succeeded by:
Boutros Boutros-Ghali