Europe owes Havel a 'profound debt': Cameron

18th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday that Europe owed late former Czech president Vaclav Havel a "profound debt" for bringing freedom and democracy to the continent.

"I am deeply saddened at the death of Vaclav Havel," said Cameron in a statement.

"Havel devoted his life to the cause of human freedom. For years, Communism tried to crush him, and to extinguish his voice. But Havel, the playwright and the dissident, could not be silenced."

He said that Havel "led the Czech people out of tyranny. And he helped bring freedom and democracy to our entire continent.

"Europe owes Vaclav Havel a profound debt. Today his voice has fallen silent.

"But his example and the cause to which he devoted his life will live on."

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement that as the Czech Republic's first democratically elected president, Havel "played a pivotal role in the development of freedom in Europe.

"He will be remembered as a leader who helped create a modern democracy in the Czech Republic. His achievements are historic and will live after him."

Havel, who as a dissident playwright became a hero of the Velvet Revolution that won independence from Soviet rule in 1989, died Sunday after a long illness, his office said. He was 75.

© 2011 AFP

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