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Tributes Paid to Former US Secretary of State Powell

INTERNATIONAL: Tributes have poured in for former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who died on Monday due to complications from Covid-19. US Ambassador to Cambodia, W. Patrick Murphy has tweeted that Powell was among the finest of the 11 Secretaries of State he has served under, calling Powell a “strategic, inclusive, accessible and inspiring leader”, adding that America had lost “a patriot & pioneer who overcame obstacles to reach the pinnacles of military & diplomatic service”.

Colin Powell was the first black US Secretary of State and a top military officer. He served under three Republican presidents and was one of America’s foremost black figures for decades. He even considered a run for the White House but was persuaded to change his mind by his wife. He later endorsed Barak Obama.

Antony Blinken, the current US Secretary of State, led tributes from Washington:

“Today, a grateful nation observes the end of a distinguished career and celebrates 35 years of service and victory. A victory for the United States military that gave young Colin Powell a chance to learn and to grow and to lead. A victory for the military and political leaders who continued to elevate him based on their complete confidence and sheer respect. A victory for a nation well served. And in a larger sense, a victory for the American dream, for the principle that in our nation, people can rise as far as their talent, their capacities, their dreams and their discipline will carry them."

Powell will forever be associated with his controversial presentation at the UN Security Council in February 2003, when he tried to make President George W. Bush's case that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein constituted an imminent danger to the world because of his alleged stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Powell admitted later that the presentation was rife with inaccuracies and twisted intelligence provided by others in the Bush administration and represented "a blot" that would always be part of his record, but in spite of that, tribute to him has still been paid by United Nations spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric:

"The secretary-general is saddened by the passing of Colin Powell, the former U.S. secretary of state. Mr. Powell, who is the first African-American secretary of state, had a distinguished career both in defense and foreign policy. The secretary-general extends his heartfelt condolences to the families, the government and the people of the United States."

Powell’s family took to Facebook to say that they had lost “a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American”. Powell had been fully-vaccinated against Covid-19, but contracted the virus several weeks ago. He died of complications arising from cancer. Colin Powell was 84.

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