President Obama calls Holbrooke a true giant of U.S. foreign policy, while Albright praises his “imagination, dedication and forcefulness.”
Washington – Leaders around the world Tuesday mourned the death of the diplomat who spearheaded the end of the Bosnian war on the 15th anniversary of the peace deal he helped design, CNN reported. Richard C. Holbrooke, 69, died Monday after doctors performed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta. He most recently served as the Obama administration’s point man in the volatile Afghan-Pakistani war zone.
He was well known for his role as the chief architect of the Dayton Peace Accords – signed December 14, 1995 – which ended the deadly ethnic conflict that erupted during the breakup of Yugoslavia. “I had the honor and privilege of working with Richard through many international crises over several decades, most particularly the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo,” former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said. “He could always be counted on for his imagination, dedication and forcefulness.”
After President Barack Obama took office in 2008, Holbrooke took one of the toughest diplomatic assignments – U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the region Obama regards as critical to the fight against terrorism. Karzai’s office issued a brief statement Tuesday, describing Holbrooke as “a veteran and seasoned diplomat who had served greatly to the government and the people of the United States.” “Achieving peace and stabilization of a country with complex realities on the ground, as well as in the region, is not an overnight task, but there was no doubt that he was pursuing his mission not only objectively, professionally and patriotically as an American, but at the same time as a friend of Afghanistan,” said Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s former foreign minister. “That was what we admired most.”
In an interview with CNN, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari called Holbrooke an “extremely hard-working man” who can “get things done which would otherwise take weeks to get through.” One of the world’s most recognizable diplomats, Holbrooke’s career spanned from the Vietnam War era to the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, coinciding with presidencies of the past five decades, from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.
Obama called Holbrooke “a true giant of American foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer, and more respected.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the nation had lost “one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants.”