Madeleine Albright, a former US Secretary of State, has died

Madeleine Albright, a Czech immigrant who became the United States’ first female secretary of state, died at the age of 84.

Albright, a long-serving foreign policy expert, was appointed as America’s top diplomat in 1997, during the Clinton administration.

Albright was acclaimed as a “champion of democracy” for her role in ending ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

A state department spokeswoman confirmed her death from cancer.

“Every day, the impact she has made on this facility is felt,” said Ned Price. “As the first female Secretary of State, she was a trailblazer who literally opened doors for a big segment of our workforce.”

Current Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was among many who paid tribute to her after her death was announced, saying Albright “was a force for freedom” and a “outspoken champion of Nato.”

Albright “knew first-hand the necessity of free societies for peace in our world,” according to former US President George W Bush.

The world “needs to stand by” Albright’s beliefs “more than ever,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted.

Albright was born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1937, the daughter of a Czechoslovak ambassador who was forced into exile after his nation was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1939.

Her family applied for political asylum in the United States in 1948, claiming that they were unable to return home as opponents of their country’s communist rule. In 1957, she became a US citizen.

Albright went on to serve as a foreign policy adviser to a number of vice-presidential and presidential candidates after working at the White House during Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

Albright was nominated ambassador to the United Nations shortly after Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993, her first diplomatic assignment.

In 1997, she was appointed Secretary of State, overcoming objections from the White House’s “anything but Albright” caucus.

During this period, she rose to prominence as a result of her efforts to persuade the Clinton administration to act to halt the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic from carrying out ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

The succeeding NATO bombing operation was dubbed “Albright’s War” by some critics.

“I take full responsibility… for believing it was critical that we not stand by and watch what Milosevic was preparing,” she stated at the time. “We can’t stand by and watch crimes against humanity take place.”

For her work in the Balkans, then-President Barack Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on her in 2012, the highest civilian honor.

Albright re-entered the public eye just a month ago, on the brink of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with a New York Times editorial criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she first met shortly after he took office in 2000.

“Ukraine has the right to its sovereignty, regardless of who its neighbors are.” Great countries recognize this in the contemporary period, and Mr. Putin must as well,” she added. “This is the underlying message of current Western diplomacy.

“It distinguishes between a world controlled by the rule of law and one without any rules at all.”

Source Koenzanews
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