Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger passed away

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, one of the most influential diplomats of the 20th century, died at the age of 100. The consulting firm said that Kissinger, who was born in Germany, died at his home in Connecticut, USA, on Wednesday. Secretary of State under US Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, he had enormous influence on international politics after World War II, but was also highly controversial.

As national security adviser and secretary of state in the 1970s, he pushed for loosening relations with the Soviet Union. He played a key role in the SALT I arms control agreement signed in 1972. He also initiated a cautious rapprochement with communist-ruled China.

In 1973, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with North Vietnamese chief negotiator Le Duc Tho, for the ceasefire agreement signed in the Vietnam War. However, despite the agreement, the war continued and Tho even refused the price.

To critics, Kissinger has become the symbol of the unscrupulous ruling politician who harshly protects US interests. In 1973, the United States was harshly criticized for its shared responsibility for the Pinochet coup in Chile. Kissinger also approved of Indonesia’s bloody invasion of East Timor in 1975.

Kissinger was born as Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Fürth (Bavaria) on May 27, 1923, into a Jewish teacher family. In 1938, the family fled the Nazi regime to the United States, and Kissinger was later naturalized. He taught international relations at Harvard University and was appointed National Security Advisor by President Nixon in 1969. In 1973, he was appointed to the position of US State Department, which he held until 1977.

After his reign, the deep-voiced diplomatic legend remained an influential advisor and wrote numerous books. It wasn’t until July that Kissinger traveled to China and met with President Xi Jinping there. Now Kissinger has died at the age of 100.

The White House praised Kissinger’s “influence on America’s role in the world.” This is a “huge loss,” including to his family, National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby said at a White House news conference on Thursday.

“Even if you agree with him on everything, there is no doubt that he has shaped foreign policy decisions for decades.” “He was a man who served his country bravely and in uniform in World War II, whether you agreed with him or not, whether you agreed with him or not,” Kirby continued.

International politics recognized Kissinger’s decades of diplomatic service. “A great personality, an intelligent thinker and diplomat has left this world forever,” Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) wrote on Thursday on X (Twitter). According to the Federal Chancellery, Nehammer met Kissinger on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2022. They talked about the situation in the Ukrainian war and other global issues.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the deceased as “an outstanding diplomat.” “A wise and far-sighted statesman, who for decades enjoyed the respect he deserved around the world, has died,” Putin wrote to Kissinger’s widow, Nancy, in a cable released by the Kremlin on Thursday. The Kremlin chief added that Kissinger’s name represents the “pragmatic foreign policy line” that made possible key US-Soviet agreements in the 1970s.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that Kissinger’s diplomatic skills shaped the politics of the 20th century. “His influence and his legacy will continue to have an impact in the 21st century,” von der Leyen said on the X text message service.

China described Kissinger as “an old and good friend of the Chinese people”. He is the pioneer and founder of relations between the United States and China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in Beijing on Thursday. State and party leader Xi sent a letter of condolence to US President Joe Biden.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his predecessor was “extraordinarily generous with his wisdom and advice” during a visit to Israel. “Few people have done more to shape history.” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida praised Kissinger’s “significant contributions” to peace and stability in Asia. Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who returned to the British government as Foreign Secretary, praised Kissinger as a “great statesman” who will be “much missed on the world stage.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised Kissinger’s contributions to transatlantic friendship. Steinmeier emphasized that the world had lost “a great warrior for freedom and democracy.” In an X-Posting on Thursday, Scholz talked about the deceased’s significant commitment to the “transatlantic friendship between the United States and Germany” and that he always remained loyal to his homeland in Germany.

The head of government wrote that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commemorated his “great statesman, scientist and friend” in a long post titled Life Believe.

Consulting firm Kissinger Associates announced that Kissinger will now be buried with his family in a private ceremony. A memorial service will be held in New York at a later date.

(APA/dpa/AFP/Reuters)

Source: Vienna

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