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Monday
Mar212011

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher Dies

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Warren Christopher, the globetrotting statesman who was also an expert in domestic affairs, passed away last Friday in Los Angeles.  He was 85.

It was during the Democrat's time as secretary of state under former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997 that Christopher helped negotiate a peace deal in Bosnia, although he was less successful in trying to settle the long disputes between Israelis and Palestinians that continue today.

From 1977 to 1981, Christopher was undersecretary of state under former President Jimmy Carter and proved instrumental in forging the Panama Canal treaties.

He was also faced with the arduous task of attempting to win to release of 52 U.S. embassy workers taken captive by the Iranians in November 1979.  It wasn't until moments after Carter left office in January 1981 that the Americans were freed in exchange for the lifting of sanctions and unfreezing of Iranian assets.

At home, Christopher served on a commission to investigate allegations of brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department following the beating of Rodney King.  The panel's recommendations in 1991 led to the wide scale overhaul of police practices in Los Angeles.

Christopher was also used by Vice President Al Gore's campaign in 2000 to oversee the disputed vote count in Florida following the presidential election won eventually by then Texas governor and Republican George W. Bush after a Supreme Court vote.

At the time, Christopher was criticized for not standing up to the aggressive strategies used by his counterpart, former Secretary of State James Baker.

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