UNITED NATIONS - Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who died Tuesday in Cairo at the age of 93, was hailed by Ban KI-moon as a "respected statesman" known for his struggle for the independence of his office and the UN Secretariat as a whole.

A veteran Egyptian diplomat and the sixth United Nations Secretary-General, his term was marked by brutal conflicts in Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, among others. Soon after his inauguration, the Security Council met in it’s first-ever summit of Heads of State. At their request, Boutros-Ghali authored the report called ‘An Agenda for Peace,’ an analysis on ways to strengthen UN capacity for preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping.

Strong-willed and independent Boutros-Ghali’s relations with the US were soured almost from the start in 1993 by foreign policy differences, political infighting and frictions between him and Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, who was Washington’s permanent representative at the UN before succeeding Christopher at the State Department.

In his 1999 memoir, “Unvanquished: A US-UN Saga,” Boutros-Ghali said the Americans had told him where not to travel, whom to avoid meeting and what to say and not say in speeches; also to avoid ruffling President (Bill) Clinton, whom he regarded as thin-skinned and indecisive, and to stay away from Congress and soft-pedal talk of America’s $1.3 billion

Even more than money, the United Nations needed American support for peacekeeping operations. But Boutros-Ghali said he had often been rebuffed when he tried to see the president and other officials to discuss what he called an “utterly confused” American foreign policy. While he had said early on that he would not seek a second term as secretary general, Boutros-Ghali ran again. Late in 1996, the Security Council voted overwhelmingly to give him another term. But Ms. Albright, in her last days as the American delegate, cast a decisive veto as one of the five permanent council members. Boutros-Ghali thus became the only secretary general denied a second term.

Also during his tenure, he spearheaded UN structural and management reform. Shown, the Secretary-General visits Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in late 1992, accompanied by peacekeepers from the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR). The war in the Balkans, accentuated by widespread “ethnic cleansing,” lasted 42 months, ending in 1995. At UN Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tributes to his predecessor as a respected statesman who brought “formidable experience and intellectual power to the task of piloting the United Nations through one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history, and guiding the Organization of the Francophonie in subsequent years.”

“As Secretary-General, he presided over a dramatic rise in UN peacekeeping. He also presided over a time when the world increasingly turned to the United Nations for solutions to its problems, in the immediate aftermath of the cold war,” Ban told reporters. “He showed courage in posing difficult questions to the Member States, and rightly insisted on the independence of his office and of the Secretariat as a whole. His commitment to the United Nations - its mission and its staff - was unmistakable, and the mark he has left on the Organization is indelible,” Ban stressed.

He extended his deepest condolences to Mrs. Boutros-Ghali, as well as to the rest of the family, to the Egyptian people, and to the late Secretary-General’s many friends and admirers around the world. “The United Nations community will mourn a memorable leader who rendered invaluable services to world peace and international order,” he added.

When he took office as UN secretary-general, Boutros-Ghali showed determination to subdue aggression and pursue peace after the fall of Soviet Communism and a relaxation of East-West tensions that had long hamstrung the United Nations. He also resolved to attack the organization’s bloated bureaucracy and chronic financial problems. But he faced daunting tasks. Civil wars in Somalia and the secessionist states of Yugoslavia had already begun. Murderous conflicts between Hutus and Tutsis were hurtling toward genocide in Rwanda. And 60,000 United Nations peacekeepers were already thinly posted in a dozen trouble spots, including Cambodia, El Salvador, Angola and Mozambique.