December 13, 2010 / 1:04 AM / 9 years ago

Clinton says Holbrooke stable but still critical

State Department special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke speaks at the Reuters Washington Summit in New York September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WAKEFIELD, Quebec (Reuters) - Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is stable but in very critical condition after surgery for a torn aorta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday.

Holbrooke, 69, has been in hospital since Friday, when he fell ill during a meeting with Clinton in her Washington office with what doctors say is a life-threatening condition.

“He is stable but still in very critical condition,” Clinton told reporters at a news conference with the Canadian and Mexican foreign ministers.

“He’s had excellent care, including many hours of surgery in the last three days,” Clinton said, adding that Holbrooke’s family and colleagues appreciated an “outpouring of support” from around the world.

Holbrooke’s wife, Kati Marton, received calls from Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the State Department said.

Holbrooke brokered the 1995 accord that ended the Balkans war and is now a key player in Obama’s efforts to turn around the war in Afghanistan that began in late 2001.

His illness comes just before the White House is due to roll out an assessment of the revised strategy for the troubled region that Obama unveiled a year ago.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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