Warren Christopher Dead At 85

Mar 21, 2011, 08:05 by John Steele

U.S. negotiator Warren Christopher has died, a spokeswoman for his law firm said Saturday. Christopher is best known for his position as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. Christopher died in his Los Angeles home due to complications from bladder and kidney cancer. He was 85.

As Secretary of State, Christopher was a key figure in the negotiations that produced a settlement in 1995 for Bosnia, ending a war among Muslims, Serbs and Croats that claimed 260,000 lives and drove another 1.8 million people from their homes. Christopher also promoted bans on nuclear weapons tests and made countless trips to the Middle East in several futile attempts to negotiate a peace accord between Syria and Israel. In his last year on the job, Christopher completed a deal to halt fighting in Lebanon between Israel and extremist Shiite guerrillas. He stepped down and Madeleine Albright took over for Clinton's second term.

Christopher's work as Secretary was often criticized from both sides of the aisle. Many democrats believed Christopher and the Clinton Administration ignored the genocide against Bosnian Muslims for too long. Some State Department officials even resigned in protest.

According to NPR, Christopher indicated he was pleased with what he called the 'triple play' of a NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, the APEC expansion of U.S. economic ties to Pacific Rim nations, and the GATT accord on international tariffs and trade, despite Republican critics calling Clinton Administration foreign policy too limited and lacking great ambition.

A longtime Californian, Christopher also headed a panel that pushed a number of Los Angeles Police Department reforms following the 1992 riots. The Christopher Commission poured over years of police records, recommending top-down changes including limiting the police chief to two five-year terms and having the chief appointed and supervised by a civilian commission.

After leaving the State Department, Christopher helped supervise the recount for Presidential hopeful Al Gore. He also served with James A. Baker as co-Chair of the Miller Center's National War Powers Commission. Baker and Christopher testified on March 5 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the War Powers Consultation Act of 2009 to provide for more meaningful consultation between the president and Congress on matters of war.

He is survived by his wife Marie, and had four children in two marriages: Lynn, Scott, Thomas, and Kristen. Plans were pending for a private memorial service.

Source: NPR