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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > December 

Philippines - Death of Foreign Secretary Blas Ople

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
December 15, 2003

I am saddened by the death December 13 in Taiwan of Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas Ople. The United States stands with the Filipino people and with Mr. Ople's family and colleagues in this time of grief.

As I told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday, Blas Ople was one of the pivotal figures of the late Twentieth Century for Philippine history. He was a renaissance man who won distinction as an academician, author, legislator and statesman, and was a warm friend of the United States. A fighter for freedom from his early days as a guerrilla fighting the Japanese, Mr. Ople was a staunch supporter of the worldwide struggle against terrorism and of Operation Iraqi Freedom, prophesying on November 22, "Baghdad will be transformed from a symbol of brutal despotism to a new, shining symbol of human freedom. The sacrifices invested in the liberation of Iraq, to which Filipinos made a significant contribution, will be fully vindicated and cherished for all time."

He will be sorely missed in international circles, but he leaves behind a U.S.-Philippines relationship that has grown stronger month by month since he took over the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2002.

On behalf of the United States, I extend my deepest sympathy and support to Mr. Ople's family and friends.

Released on December 15, 2003

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