09:12 GMT +321 January 2020
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    Samantha Power, until recently the US envoy to the UN, looked back on years of her discreet friendship with Russia’s late ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whom she described as their nations’ best hope of working together.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Churkin, Russia’s representative at the UN for the last decade, passed away in New York on Monday, a day before turning 65. Power responded to the news by saying she was "devastated" and calling him a diplomatic maestro.

    Writing for the New York Times on Saturday, Samantha Power gave more behind-the-scenes details of her time as Churkin’s "most visible foe" and opponent on almost every important international issue, stressing they had much more in common as individuals.

    "Vitaly was a masterful storyteller with an epic sense of humor, a good friend and one of the best hopes the United States and Russia had of working together," the diplomat wrote. She also called him "one of the world’s most effective diplomats."

    Power recalled their frequent clashes over Ukraine, Syria and Russia’s policies that infected their working relationship. But, despite that their nations’ positions were miles apart, she said, "we knew we had to work together, and we did."

    "We were able to disagree vehemently on fundamentals, but find a way to listen and discern what the other needed," Power wrote, listing tough sanctions on North Korea, response to the Ebola virus outbreak and picking a new UN chief as some of successes.

    On the personal level, Power said they shared love for sports and would sometimes go to basketball matches together. They used to always pick up each other’s calls, she said, and mulled the possibility of teaching a graduate school class together when they retired.

    Related:

    Late Russia's UN Ambassador Churkin Should Be Immortalized – Lavrov
    Memorial Service for Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin in Moscow
    Death of Churkin is Loss for Int'l Diplomacy - UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Russia Urges US to Avoid Leaks, Share Churkin's Cause of Death Probe Data
    Tags:
    bilateral relations, ambassador, UN, Samantha Power, Vitaly Churkin, United States, Russia
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