Tributes paid to Holbrooke

World leaders and analysts pay tribute to veteran diplomat who has been US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Holbrooke  died after undergoing a second round of surgery to treat a heart condition [AFP]

    Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died on Monday at the age of 69.
    World leaders, colleagues, friends and analysts react to his passing.

    Joe Biden, US vice-president

    Today, I lost a great friend and America lost one of its greatest warriors for peace. ... He was a tireless negotiator, a relentless advocate for American interests, and the most talented diplomat we've had in a generation.

    John Kerry, chairman of the US senate foreign relations committee

    "We loved his energy, we loved his resolve - that's who Richard was, and he died giving everything he had to one last difficult mission for the country he loved.

    It is almost a bittersweet bookend that a career of public diplomacy that began trying to save a war gone wrong, now ends with a valiant effort to keep another war from going wrong.

    Bill Clinton, former US president

    In a lifetime of passionate, brilliant service on the front lines of war and peace, freedom and oppression, Richard Holbrooke saved lives, secured peace, and restored hope for countless people around the world.

    Tony Blair, former British prime minister

    He was a remarkable man, a remarkable public servant and someone who contributed enormously to the cause of a more peaceful and just world. He will be deeply mourned by many people in many different nations.

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, senior Republican on the House foreign affairs committee

    Richard Holbrooke has been a dynamic force in American diplomacy ... His stellar service is deeply appreciated and held in the highest esteem.

    Hasan Askari Rizvi, political analyst in Islamabad, Pakistan

    On the one hand he was seen as a task oriented chap, and on the other hand, he sympathized with Pakistani problems, like displaced persons because of the war on terror. Also in the flood situation, he took a personal interest. So his exit from the scene will be seen as a loss of a friend.

    So far as Pakistan-Afghanistan-US diplomacy is concerned, there will be a brief gap because the U.S. will have to find a person who has relations to the extent that Holbrooke had developed.

    Vanda Felbab-Brown, analyst at Washington-based Brookings Institution

    As very sad as Richard Holbrooke's passing is, the role of the SRAP [Special Representative Afghanistan, Pakistan] is an important one. It is important to appoint into the position someone who can redevelop a good, or at least, working relationship between the United States and the international community on the one hand and President (Hamid) Karzai on the other.

    And there continues to be an important need for working the regional relationships - with Pakistan and more broadly.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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