Holbrooke a true giant in US diplomacy: Obama
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 11:25
  
Washington: Mourning the death of Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Af-Pak region, President Barack Obama Tuesday described him as one of the true giants of American foreign policy who has made the country stronger, safer and more respected.

Holbrooke, one of Obama Administration's best known diplomat, died last night, three days after he fell while at work and was admitted to the intensive care unit of the George Washington University Hospital.

He underwent a surgery on Saturday to repair a tear in his aorta and another procedure on Sunday.

Despite the best of the efforts of the doctors, Holbrooke, 69, could not be saved.

His death comes on the eve of the crucial monthly Af-Pak situation room meeting at the White House to which he was a permanent fixture in this Administration.

The annual Af-Pak review is scheduled to be announced Thursday; in which he played a key role.

At the time of hiss death, Holbrooke was surrounded by his wife, Kati, his sons David and Anthony, his step-children Elizabeth and Chris Jennings, his daughter-in-law Sarah, and the rest of their family.

Acknowledging the role of Holbrooke in the present Af-Pak policy, Obama said the progress that the US has made in Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to Richard's relentless focus on America's national interest, and pursuit of peace and security.

"He understood, in his life and his work, that our interests encompassed the values that we hold so dear.

And as usual, amidst his extraordinary duties, he also mentored young people who will serve our country for decades to come," Obama said.

"One of his friends and admirers once said that, If you're not on the team and you're in his way, God help you. Like so many Presidents before me, I am grateful that Richard Holbrooke was on my team, as are the American people," Obama said.

"Richard Holbrooke was a larger than life figure, who through his brilliance, determination and sheer force of will helped bend the curve of history in the direction of progress.

He touched so many lives and helped save countless more. He was a tireless negotiator, a relentless advocate for American interests, and the most talented diplomat we've had in a generation," said US Vice President Joe Biden.

True to form, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said Holbrooke was a fighter to the end.

Bureau Report


First Published: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 11:25


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