British FM pays tribute to 'best and brightest' Holbrooke

14th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague paid tribute Tuesday to Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died overnight.

"Ambassador Holbrooke was truly one of the best and the brightest of his generation," Hague said in a statement after US officials confirmed Holbrooke had died Monday following emergency heart surgery.

"Whether as a young state department officer in Vietnam or as ambassador to Germany and the UN he has served his nation with distinction and integrity."

He added: "On behalf of the British government and his many friends here in the UK I send my condolences to Ambassador Holbrooke's family and to Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton and the American people for this sad loss."

Hague said he had worked closely with Holbrooke on Pakistan and on Afghanistan, where Britain has about 10,000 troops in the second largest foreign deployment after the United States.

"He has played a key role in establishing and developing the international contact group to support stability and peace in the region. His work will continue," the British minister said.

Hague also paid tribute to Holbrooke's work leading the 1995 Dayton Peace Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he "exemplified the finest qualities of American and international diplomatic leadership".

"The principles he established in the Dayton/Paris Accords including on inter-ethnic balance, robust peace-keeping and of regional commitments are a model for others to follow," Hague said.

"We will be vigilant in preserving the peace he secured."

Holbrooke fell ill at work on Friday, was rushed to a Washington hospital and underwent surgery for a torn aorta. He died Monday at the age of 69, US officials said.

© 2010 AFP

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