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Bush Pays Tribute to UN Envoy Killed in Iraq - 2003-08-20

President Bush is paying tribute to Sergio Vieira de Mello, the veteran U.N. diplomat who died in the bloody bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. Mr. Bush says he was killed while trying to help the Iraqi people.

The president said he was deeply saddened to hear that Mr. Vieira de Mello died at the hands of terrorists.

In a written statement, Mr. Bush praised the top U.N. envoy in Iraq. The president said he committed his life to advancing the cause of human rights, taking a leave of absence from his duties as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to serve as the Secretary-General's representative in Baghdad.

Mr. Bush took note of his earlier work on behalf of the international community in East Timor and Kosovo. The president said when asked to help in Iraq, Mr. Vieira de Mello agreed with no hesitation.

The Brazilian diplomat, 55, was sent to Iraq in May to oversee U.N. relief and reconstruction efforts. President Bush said he sends condolences not just to his family, but all the people of Brazil, nothing the country has lost one of its finest public servants.