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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Arab League's Ahmed bin Helli dies at 77

The Algerian diplomat passed away in hospital in Canada, where he was receiving medical treatment after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Ahmed bin Helli, deputy secretary general of the Arab League, died on Sunday at the age of 77. AFP / Mohamed El-Shahed
Ahmed bin Helli, deputy secretary general of the Arab League, died on Sunday at the age of 77. AFP / Mohamed El-Shahed

Ahmed bin Helli, deputy secretary general of the Arab League, died on Sunday at the age of 77.

The Algerian diplomat passed away in hospital in Canada, where he was receiving medical treatment after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Ahmed Abu Al Gheit, secretary general of the Arab League, offered his “deepest and most heartfelt” condolences to the family of Bin Helli.

“The Arab League not only lost a man of Arab diplomacy, but a person of high morals and true Arab patriotism,” he said. “Despite our sadness that comes with losing Ambassador Bin Helli, his good nature will remain engraved in the minds of those who knew him.”

He praised Bin Helli’s continuous efforts over the years to serve the goals and principles of the Arab League.

Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary general of the Arab League, said: “It is with great sadness that we offer our condolences to the friends and loved ones of Ambassador Ahmed bin Helli after his death in Canada, where he was being treated for an incurable disease.

“We knew him as a respectable, capable and diplomatic man, who had the league’s and Arabs’ best interest at heart.

“We pray to Allah to have mercy on his soul and to grant his family solace and patience.”

Bin Helli was born on August 26, 1940 in the city of Tlemcen in north-western Algeria, where he attended elementary school. He continued his studies in Morocco and then Egypt, where he graduated from Cairo University in 1970 with a degree in media and journalism.

He has written countless articles that were published in Algerian newspapers and delivered lectures on joint Arab action in its political, security and international dimensions.

In 1992, he was appointed Algerian ambassador to Sudan, a significant role due to the then-growing tensions between the two countries.

He began his career in the Arab League in 1994, when he was appointed as a consultant to the secretary general, Dr Ahmed Esmat Abdel Majeed. In 1997, he was promoted to assistant secretary general and then deputy secretary general to Amr Moussa in 2009.

When Nabil Al Arabi assumed the position of secretary general in 2011, Bin Helli was reappointed as his deputy and served until his death on July 9.