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World Leaders Express Shock Over Swedish Foreign Minister's Death - 2003-09-11

Sweden's foreign minister, Anna Lindh, died from wounds she suffered in a knife attack Wednesday at a Stockholm department store. World political figures have expressed shock and grief at her killing.

Ms. Lindh died from internal bleeding and liver damage, even though surgeons struggled through the night to save her life. She was 46-years- old.

No one has been arrested, but police are searching for a man described as "Swedish-looking" who wore an army camouflage jacket. Authorities say they do not believe the killing was politically motivated. World politicians have expressed shock over the death. German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said Mrs. Lindh was the victim of a cowardly murder. "We have lost a great European, a great foreign minister and a great friend," he said.

"An appalling event" and "a terrible tragedy," is how British Foreign Minister Jack Straw described it. He said Mrs. Lindh skillfully balanced public and private life.

"She was someone that was full of life. Represented everything that is wonderful about Sweden and about Europe," he said. "She had this extraordinary ability to balance the demands of one of the most active of Europe's foreign ministers with her role as one of the leading Swedish politicians, and that of being somebody completely committed to her family."

Mrs. Lindh had two children and became foreign minister in 1998. Political analysts say she was a possible future prime minister.

France's foreign minister Dominique de Villepin praised her for resourcefulness and dynamism, and European Commission head Romano Prodi admired her for her courage and warmth.

"The tragic news of Anna's death has saddened and affected me, and all the members of the European Commission deeply," he said. "Anna, as we remember her, was always a very committed political personality, courageous and intelligent. But, above all, we who knew her will recall her as a generous person with considerable human warmth."

And in Luxembourg, Foreign Minister Lydie Polfer said she was very sad to lose a great colleague and friend, and that the European Union had lost one of its most outspoken advocates.

Mrs. Lindh was a big campaigner in favor of Sweden adopting the joint European currency called the euro. A Swedish referendum on the issue is set for Sunday.

Her killing brings back memories of the 1986 murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme, who was shot as he walked home from a movie theater. That crime was never solved.