World leaders and dignitaries are paying tribute to former U.S. president George H.W. Bush as a committed public servant who helped the United States stand tall on the world stage.
Bush, the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993, died at his home in Houston, Tex., on Friday at age 94.
“Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a statement.
Statement from President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on the Passing of Former President George H.W. Bush pic.twitter.com/qxPsp4Ggs7
“George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey,” former U.S. president Barack Obama said.
“I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed,”said former U.S. president Bill Clinton. “From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to [Clinton’s daughter] Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood.”
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called Bush “a great statesman and a true friend of our country” whose “ethos of public service was the guiding thread of his life and an example to us all.”
May said in a statement that “in navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War he made the world a safer place for generations to come.” Bush led America during the dissolution of the Soviet Union that began in 1989.
John Major, whose 1990-1997 term as British prime minister overlapped with Bush’s presidency, said the late president “saw America’s obligation to the world and honoured it.”
“I feel privileged to have worked with him, and even more privileged that he became a lifelong friend. He was, quite simply, one of the most deep-down decent people I have ever known,” Major told the BBC.
Former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev, 87, expressed his “deep condolences” to the Bush family and said Bush’s time as president was one of great change.
Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, hailed Bush’s role in helping end the Cold War and an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Bush held talks with Gorbachev before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and signed a landmark arm control agreement with him that significantly cut both countries’ nuclear
George H. W. Bush’s exemplary service and deep commitment to his country informed everything he accomplished over his decades in public life. Sophie and I offer our condolences to his family and the American people on his passing.
“Many of my memories are linked to him. We happened to work together in years of great changes. It was a dramatic time demanding huge responsibility from everyone. The result was the end of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race,” Russia’s Interfax news agency cited Gorbachev as saying.
“I pay tribute to George Bush’s contribution toward this historic achievement. He was a genuine partner.”
After his inauguration in January 1989, Bush’s first visit to a foreign country was to Canada, to see then-prime minister Brian Mulroney, who issued a statement on Saturday, sending “deepest condolence to the Bush family.”
“President Bush had become one of those statesmen about whom history’s judgment rises every year. It was my privilege to have worked with him on an array of world-changing policy achievements: from German re-unification, the struggle against Iraqi aggression, and the re-building of global partnerships following the collapse of the Soviet Union, to apartheid, acid rain and NAFTA. His legacy after a lifetime of public service is extraordinary,” Mulroney said.
Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, said Bush was “a great statesman and a friend of Germany,” adding that he “courageously seized the opportunity” to end Cold War and act as “an architect of German unity.”
“He supported it from the beginning without reservations. We will never forget that,” Maas said.
The Dalai Lama, offered condolences to Bush’s son, George W. Bush, who later became president from 2001 to 2009.
“He was, in fact, the first American President that I was privileged to meet,” The Tibetan spiritual leader said.
“I recall being deeply touched by your father’s concern for the Tibetan people and the situation in Tibet. It is truly admirable to have lived over 94 years. While nothing can replace the loss of a father, we can rejoice in the fact that his was a meaningful life, dedicated to public service. I commend your parents for encouraging their children, including you my dear friend, to devote yourselves to the service of others.”
Iran state television has noted his death as being “like other U.S. presidents who wished to see the collapse of the Islamic Republic.”
Iran remained suspicious of Bush despite his pledge of “good will begets good will.” Iran leaned on Lebanon’s Shia militants to help win the release American hostages like Terry Anderson of The Associated Press, but relations went no further.
My grandfather was the greatest man I ever knew. His life spanned the American Century—he fought in World War II … took part in the Texas oil boom … served out a distinguished career in public service including serving as president during the final days of the Cold War. pic.twitter.com/6i68EPVC3j
The small, oil-rich nation of Kuwait is offering its condolences for Bush, who led the 1991 Gulf War that freed it from Iraq.
A defining moment of Bush’s single term in office was spearheading the military intervention against Iraq’s invasion of the small, oil-rich nation of Kuwait in 1991.
Kuwait’s ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabahnoted Bush’s efforts to “create a new international order based on justice and equality among nations.”
Sheikh Sabah also said Bush never “forgot the Kuwaiti people and will remain in their memory.”