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Ex US Secretary of State Warren Christopher dead aged 85

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Warren Christopher
Image: US Government.

Warren Christopher, former US Secretary of State to President Bill Clinton, died Friday at the age of 85. His family announced the death as result of complications with kidney and bladder cancer.

President Obama and the First Lady announced that they were "saddened at the loss." In a statement, Obama described Christopher as "a resolute pursuer of peace, leading negotiations with regard to the Middle East and the Balkans, including the Dayton Agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia. Warren Christopher was a skillful diplomat, a steadfast public servant, and a faithful American."

Christopher's career as a US diplomat spanned almost 28 years, with him serving under President Lyndon B. Johnson as deputy Attorney General, before entering the diplomatic field as deputy Secretary of State under the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. While working for Carter, Christopher earned his reputation as a negotiator, securing the release of 52 Americans who were being held hostages in Iran in 1981, an act that earned him the most prestigious civilian award in the US, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

While working for President Clinton as Secretary of State, Christopher became well-known for his efforts to bring peace to countries divided by war, especially in the Middle East and with more success in the former Yugoslavia, where his work with Bosnian Muslims, Serbs, and Croats brought an end to the war there, as well as the brokering of the Dayton peace accords in 1995.

Christopher also held the distinction of being the most traveled US Secretary of State in history, notching up a record 704,487 miles by 1996, a milestone celebrated by his crew who presented him with a cake onboard one of his flights.

Christopher's career wasn't limited to diplomacy, however, Christopher also had a legal background, studying law and practicing in Los Angeles, California. He had the job of chairing the investigation into the Rodney King assault, and the riots that followed it, in addition to serving on the Hate Crimes task force in California.

Mr. Christopher is survived by his wife, 4 children, and 5 grandchildren.


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