Obama describes Holbrooke as ‘towering figure’, prays for him

December 12th, 2010 - 10:34 am ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, Dec. 12 (ANI): U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday described his Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, as “a towering figure in American foreign policy” and said that he was praying for his recovery from aortic surgery.

In statement issued on Saturday night, President Obama said he had spoken with Holbrooke’s wife and told her that he and First Lady Michelle Obama are praying for him.

Obama called Holbrooke a critical member of the administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan team, and “a tireless public servant.”

Holbrooke’s family has been with the diplomat. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also has visited at the George Washington University Hospital, where he is admitted.

Holbrooke, was said to be in critical condition on Saturday after undergoing aortic surgery at the hospital here.

A medical bulletin issued by hospital staff said doctors had performed surgery on Holbrooke to repair a tear in an artery.

The U.S. State Department said:”This (Saturday) morning, doctors completed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta. He is in critical condition and has been joined by his family.”

The veteran diplomat was admitted to George Washington University Hospital Friday after falling ill while at work at the State Department.

He underwent evaluations at the hospital Friday.

Holbrooke, 69, was entrusted with the task to lead American diplomatic efforts in the region in the early days of the Obama Administration and has since been traveling to the two countries and engaging with the top Pakistani and Afghan officials since.

He has also undertook travels to several European and Asian countries as part of efforts to coordinate the U.S. policy in the region.

The diplomat is a former two-time Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Germany, and was a key player in the Dayton Peace accords, which brokered an end to the conflict in Bosnia. (ANI)

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