News / Europe

Balkans Express Sorrow Over Holbrooke's Death

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke (file photo)
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke (file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell

U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who died Monday at the age of 69, played a key role in negotiating peace deals that brought an end to the wars in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.  He was seen as a hero by many people in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Ambassador Holbrooke carved his reputation as one of the world's most effective diplomats during the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.


His death comes just a day after Kosovo staged its first parliamentary elections since declaring independence from Serbia nearly three years ago.

Holbrooke played a key role in ending the conflict between the two countries in 1999, paving the way for Kosovo to declare its independence.

On the streets of the capital, Pristina there is shock and sadness at his death.

Local TV journalist Avni Ahmetaj says Holbrooke's role, not only in Kosovo but around the world as a peacemaker, was huge. "It is a sad day for all of us," Ahmetaj said. "He was a brilliant man, he played a crucial role not only in the Kosovo conflict before the NATO bombing and during the bombing, but also throughout the world trying to build peace.  It is a really sad day for Kosovo."

Pristina resident Fatlum Beka was 16 when the war ended.  His parents' house was burned down by Serbian forces.

Beka says Holbrooke's death is a huge loss for the world, but especially for the citizens of Kosovo"   He says he remembers 1998 when Ambassador Holbrooke started negotiations with Serbia.  He adds that Holbrooke helped Kosovo a lot in achieving independence when he was at the United Nations.

As then U.S. President Bill Clinton's Special Envoy, Richard Holbrooke played the central role in ending the Bosnian war of the early 1990s that had cost an estimated 100,000 lives.

In 1995 he brought the warring Serb, Bosnian and Croat leaders together in Dayton, Ohio for talks that led to a peace agreement.  That deal was signed exactly 15 years ago.

Haris Silajdzic was Bosnia-Herzegovina's foreign minister during the war and went on to become president.  He was part of the Bosnian delegation at Dayton.

"Half the people had to leave their homes," recalled Silajdzic.  "The Dayton Agreement put an end to that, and that has big value because the killing stopped."

Richard Holbrooke's direct negotiating style earned him the nickname 'The Bulldozer'.

He once said he had no problems "negotiating with people who do immoral things", if it helped bring about peace.  Holbrooke met many such people during his career and analysts say his diplomatic muscle will be sorely missed in the United States and around the world.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid