British PM 'deeply saddened' by Holbrooke death

14th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Tuesday he was "deeply saddened" by the death of Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died overnight.

"I am deeply saddened by the death of Richard Holbrooke. He was a formidable force of American diplomacy -- an indefatigable champion in the cause of peace, who worked tirelessly for a better world," Cameron said in a statement.

"Most recently his energies were devoted to finding a peaceful way forward for Afghanistan and her people.

"But he will always be remembered for his pre-eminent role in ending the vicious war in Bosnia, where his force of personality and his negotiating skill combined to drive through the Dayton peace agreement and put a halt to the fighting.

"He was a true public servant who will be greatly missed."

Foreign Secretary William Hague also paid tribute to Holbrooke, who died Monday following emergency heart surgery in Washington. He was 69.

"Ambassador Holbrooke was truly one of the best and the brightest of his generation," Hague said.

"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."

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 in Bosnia, which he said "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."

© 2010 AFP

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