Washington: Terming Chris Stevens as a “role model” for young diplomats, US President Barack Obama today said his killing in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was tragic and cited irony in the fact that he died in the city he had “helped to save”.
The US Ambassador to Libya was killed by angry mob who stormed the US Consulate in Benghazi, and Obama recalled how at the height of the Libyan revolution, he had led the American diplomatic post in the birthplace of the anti-Gaddafi movement.
“He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps,” Obama told the White House press corps in a Rose Garden statement as he mourned the death of the top American diplomat who had played a key role in liberation of Libya from the Gadhafi regime.
“It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi. With characteristic skill, courage and resolve he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya,” Obama said.
“When the Gaddafi regime came to an end Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy. Both Secretary (of State, Hillary) Clinton, and I have relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there,” he said.
Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from an experience of war, he said.
Obama drove to the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department to meet the State Department employees to express his solidarity with American diplomats stationed around the world.
Clinton said Stevens fell in love with the Middle East as a young Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in Morocco.
“In the early days of the Libyan revolution I asked Chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition. He arrived on a cargo ship in the Port of Benghazi and began building our relationships with Libya’s revolutionaries.
“He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya,” Clinton told reporters at the headquarters of the State Department.
In fact, Clinton had sworn in Stevens for his post in Libya only a few months back.
“He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation. He spent every day since helping to finish the work that he started. Chris was committed to advancing America’s values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger,”