US' Daniel Russel signs condolence book in Washington for S R Nathan

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel signs the condolence book. PHOTO: MELISSA SIM

WASHINGTON - United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, signed the condolence book for former president S R Nathan at the Singapore embassy in Washington, DC today (Aug 23).

Expressing his condolences on behalf of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the American people, he said Mr Nathan "will be remembered and he will be missed".

"We admire the remarkable service as Singapore's Ambassador to the United States, as well as his tenure as President. His lifelong dedication to public service, and his personal warmth and humility, stand as an inspiration to us all," he wrote.

Speaking to the media, Mr Russel said he had the honour of meeting Mr Nathan, when he was assistant to the undersecretary of state, while Mr Nathan was serving as Singapore's Ambassador to the US (1990 - 1996).

"He was an extraordinarily modest man, a very open and kind man, and of course a very thoughtful and knowledgeable diplomat," said Mr Russel, who added that following the end of the Cold War, there was an effort to develop new partnerships in Asia and Mr Nathan's "advice and his guidance to us was always laden with insight and practical ideas for how the United States can contribute and can play a role".

"We still very much depend on Singapore's insights and wisdom on that account," he added.

Commenting on the 50 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the US, Mr Russel said the recent official visit of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was a "joyous event" during which Mr Obama and PM Lee were "able to point to so much of the work that had been done over the years by S R Nathan".

"He, over his career, really spanned those five decades and as I mentioned, his work in the United States as Singapore's ambassador, during a very difficult time in SEA, stands as an important legacy," he added.

On Monday, at the top of the US Department of State's daily press briefing, deputy spokesman Mark Toner also extended condolences to Mr Nathan's family and to the people of Singapore.

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