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People she charmed around the world mourn Princess Diana

September 1, 1997

Around the world, the people she charmed and the causes that counted on her grieved for Princess Diana on Sunday.

``I will never forget her laughter,″ said Diana Kresic, the 13-year-old daughter of a Bosnian land mine victim.

The girl met a smiling, compassionate Princess of Wales earlier this year when Diana toured the former Yugoslavia and Angola for a high-profile campaign against land mines _ one of countless efforts by Diana to give what she had too much of _ fame _ to the charities and movements that got too little of it.

The princess first entered the public eye at 19, a shy kindergarten teacher fleeing photographers in ferocious pursuit of a shot of Prince Charles’ girlfriend.

Her every move was chronicled, but the gossip columns and tabloid TV shows often failed to capture her true nature, said Plamenko Priganica of the U.S.-based Land Mine Survivors Network, who lives and works in Tuzla, Bosnia.

``Everybody always talked about her private life, but not enough about how she was as a human being,″ a mourning Priganica said.

In Cambodia, one of the world’s most heavily mined countries, officials said they hoped her death would bolster an international campaign to end use of the lethal, crippling weapon. ``This is a very great loss for the Cambodian people,″ government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

In the hours after the Paris car crash that claimed Diana’s life, condolences poured in from across the world.

It was Diana’s role as a ``queen in people’s hearts″_ the title she said she most coveted _ that won praise from South African President Nelson Mandela, who paid tribute to Diana as ``an ambassador for victims of land mines, war orphans, the sick and needy throughout the world.″

The princess ``dedicated her life to humanity,″ said Mario Villarroel Lander, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

In Calcutta, Mother Teresa honored Diana’s commitment to those less fortunate than herself. ``She was very concerned for the poor. She was very anxious to do something for them. That is why she was close to me.″

David Harvey, executive director of the Washington-based national AIDS Policy Center for Children, Youth and Families, said: ``With one royal handshake given to a young man with AIDS in the late 1980s, Diana forever changed the face of AIDS for the world.

``She educated the world about compassion, love and understanding. Diana will be sorely missed.″

Singer Michael Jackson canceled a concert scheduled Sunday in Belgium that 60,000 people were to attend. Concert organizer Paul Ambach said Jackson was stunned by the news of Diana’s death and unable to perform.

President Clinton, vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., said he and his wife, Hillary, ``knew Princess Diana, and we were very fond of her.″

``We are profoundly saddened by this tragic event.″

French President Jacques Chirac called her a ``young woman of our time, warm, full of life and generosity.″

In a message to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Philippine President Fidel Ramos said, ``This loss is not that of one family nor that of the British nation alone. The human community, especially the world’s children and the victims of the weapons of war, will gravely miss Princess Diana and her noble work for a peaceful and more humane world.″

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in Venice, Italy, said Diana’s death ``has robbed the world of a consistent and committed voice for the improvement of the lives of suffering children worldwide.″

Egyptian TV interrupted its programs to announce the death of Diana and her Egyptian-born companion, Dodi Fayed. President Hosni Mubarak sent messages of condolence to the queen and to Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of London’s prestigious Harrods department store.

Mourners in Moscow laid flowers outside the British Embassy. Russian President Boris Yeltsin ``took to heart″ Diana’s death, an aide, Sergei Prikhodko, told Echo Moscow Radio.

The British consulate in Hong Kong lowered its flag to half mast. Hong Kong’s new leader, Tung Chee-hwa, said he was ``deeply shocked and saddened″ by the princess’s’ death. Diana was to have visited the former British colony this year.

In Pakistan, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto praised the princess for her ``elegance″ and ``devotion to humanitarian and social causes.″ Cricket star Imran Khan, a friend of Diana’s, said she had ``achieved unprecedented heights in the service of mankind.″

``May God give us the strength to carry on the mission of serving humanity as a tribute to her memory,″ Khan said.

In a condolence message to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited Diana’s charity work.

``The princess was a woman of grace, beauty and charm. ... She captured the imagination of millions throughout the world with her dedication to her children and to innumerable worthy causes,″ he said.

In a message to the queen, Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi said, ``the death has robbed the world of one of its most compassionate persons.″

Choking back tears, Lucia Flecha de Lima _ wife of Brazil’s ambassador to Washington _ remembered her friend Diana loss before flying to London Sunday evening.

``Paulo de Tarso, my children and I are shocked and inconsolable with the tragic death of Princess Diana. The Princess honored us with her friendship and love and was, through the years, a marvelous person and friend,″ said Lima.

The two had become friends when Lima’s husband Paulo de Tarso de Lima was Brazil’s ambassador to London, their friendship is said to have solidified during Diana and Prince Charles’s 1991 visit to Brazil.

Again and again, that word came up _ ``robbed″ _ to describe the way Diana died _ fleeing photographers.

Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen expressed sympathy for the princess’s two sons, saying they had ``lost their mother in an unfair way.″

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl called Diana ``the victim of an ever more brutal and unscrupulous competition of a part of the media.″

``This terrible accident and her death should finally give those responsible in the media a reason to reflect.″

Conveying the sympathy of Sweden’s royal family, spokeswoman Elisabeth Tarras-Wallberg said, ``When you literally chase someone to death to make money from pictures, things have gone too far.″

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