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Home > Famous Quotes > Quotes from Paddy Ashdown

Quotes from Paddy Ashdown

"Bosnia is under my skin. It's the place you cannot leave behind. I was obsessed by the nightmare of it all; there was this sense of guilt, and an anger that has become something much deeper over these last years."

"I am also responsible to the Bosnian people. If I pass a decree that is refused, my authority is gone like the morning dew."

"I am formally accountable to the steering board of the PIC, and I meet with nine ambassadors from the PIC every week. I have to have the capitals' broad agreement with what I do."

"I am here because I think it was a terrible sin of the west to allow those years of war."

"I can create institutions, but I can't rewrite the chips in people's heads."

"I can establish the expectation of retributive justice. Have we done that? No."

"I don't think Bosnia is ready for reconciliation, but I do think it is ready for truth."

"I love this country, I love these people, though I can't say I love their politicians. People are always nicer than politicians, but here, you can mark that difference up a hundredfold."

"I shall go home now. You have to know when your time is up. I knew that with the Liberal Democrats, and I know that now, in Bosnia."

"I was told there would be riots in the streets, but there were no riots."

"I've had much nastier things said about me in the British press than in the Bosnian press."

"If The Hague says they have evidence against someone, I will remove them. But I cannot be governed by innuendo."

"It was a superb agreement to end a war, but a very bad agreement to make a state. From now on, we have to part company with Dayton and try to build a modern democratic state, for which I have tried to lay the foundations."

"It works both ways: there are victims of tragedy who come to me who have experienced grief of such magnitude that they cannot reconcile. Likewise, I cannot change the mentality of those who committed the crimes or the fools who followed them."

"It would be a foolish high representative who worked that way."

"It's not my job to be popular. I'm goal-driven; my job is to get results."

"Maybe it's legitimate criticism, though it can be hurtful. Maybe I haven't paid sufficient attention to the people with whom I would have a natural affinity as a liberal, and they feel let down by that."

"My first job has been to do the best thing for the Bosnian people. Not for the Serbs, the Bosniaks or Croats, but the people as a whole."

"My second job has been to try to use my power to create institutions of a modern state that could enter the European Union, and there was very little time. The door was closing, and I wanted to get Bosnia through before it shut."

"One has to respect legal procedure."

"People do not want politicians they know to be corrupt."

"Politics is about putting yourself in a state of grace."

"Politics is compromise."

"The generous way of putting it is that we were not ready for this. The less generous way is to say: How was it possible to return to the politics of appeasement of the 1930s?"

"The greatest failure is that although we have created institutions, we have not created a civil society."

"The major burden of guilt is on the Serbs, and they have to acknowledge it, just as the Germans acknowledged it."

"This country is about history, and unless the Serbs in particular come to some understanding of this history, we cannot build a stable state."

"We are not there yet, but I'd be disappointed if in two years' time there was not some movement towards truth as a precursor to reconciliation."

"We have invented a new human right here - the right to return home after a war."

"We have to make their livelihoods viable, get them the proper prices for their produce, try and make them stay rather than sell their property and leave again."

"We who came here saw what was happening. This was far more than a war in a faraway place. This was a moral imperative, a terrible vision of the future."

"What my future will not be is active politics in the Liberal Democrat party."

Total Quotes: 32

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