Giandomenico Picco, an Italian diplomat who as a lead negotiator for the United Nations helped resolve conflicts throughout the globe — most notably spending practically a yr within the early Nineties shuttling across the Center East to safe the discharge of 11 hostages held by terrorist teams in Lebanon — died on Sunday in Wilton, Conn., north of Norwalk. He was 75.

His son Giacomo mentioned the reason for his dying, at an assisted residing dwelling, was problems of Alzheimer’s illness.

Mr. Picco spent 20 years with the U.N., largely in a collection of loosely outlined roles that positioned him on the middle of among the world’s most harmful sizzling spots.

Early in his profession he helped handle the battle between Greece and Turkey over the island of Cyprus; in 1986 he mediated between New Zealand and France after French secret brokers sank the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship, within the Auckland harbor; and in 1988 he helped organize the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Tall, sharply dressed and at all times discreet, Mr. Picco was one thing of a thriller throughout the U.N. paperwork. He would disappear with out discover from the headquarters in Manhattan, solely to floor a couple of days later in Lebanon, Iran or Afghanistan, usually with out having handed via border controls alongside the best way.

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, who met Mr. Picco after they each labored in Cyprus and who, after changing into secretary normal in 1981, introduced him on as his private assistant, usually known as Mr. Picco his “chief troubleshooter” and an “unarmed soldier of diplomacy.”

Among the many thorniest world crises within the late Eighties was the taking of scores of Western hostages by Hezbollah and different terrorist teams, together with greater than two dozen Individuals, usually for years at a time. Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar made it a private mission to free them, and he despatched Mr. Picco to make it occur.

Their leverage was Iran, the sponsor behind teams like Hezbollah, which by 1990 discovered itself at a crossroads. With the top of the Chilly Battle and the dying of the nation’s hard-line supreme chief, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the nation appeared open to a rapprochement with the West. Liberating the ultimate hostages held in Lebanon appeared an actual chance.

Mr. Picco later joked that in the course of the early Nineties he spent extra time in Tehran than in his native Italy. Over practically a yr of negotiations, he would meet first with Iranian officers, then journey to Syria. From there he can be taken in a navy automotive, with curtains throughout the again seat so nobody may see him, over the Lebanese border to satisfy with hostage takers.

He recalled ready for them on an empty Beirut avenue in the midst of the evening.

“The automotive got here to a screeching halt, a bag was put over my head, then I used to be thrown into the boot of the automotive, one thing which I don’t suggest to anyone, particularly in case you are 6-foot-3 like me,” he instructed the BBC in 2013.

He knew the dangers: One of many hostages, an Anglican official named Terry Waite, had been taken captive whereas on the same mission in 1987. However, he traveled with out bodyguards and infrequently went into conferences alone.

He made 9 journeys to Lebanon to satisfy with the abductors, every time bringing again a number of hostages, together with Mr. Waite and Terry Anderson, a reporter for The Related Press who had been held by Hezbollah since 1985.

On Dec. 12, 1991, eight days after Mr. Anderson’s launch, President George H.W. Bush offered Mr. Picco with the Presidential Award for Distinctive Service.

“His skillful diplomacy with Center Jap governments and officers and representatives of the hostage holders has resulted in freedom for a lot of people held within the area,” the award citation read. “His private braveness within the face of hazard and his dedication to the mission signify the most effective custom of worldwide civil service.”

Giandomenico Picco was born on Oct. 8, 1948, in Udine, a metropolis in northeastern Italy, not removed from the border with what was then Yugoslavia. His father, Giacomo, was a pharmacist, and his mom, Ares, managed the house.

He acquired a bachelor’s diploma in political science from the College of Padua, in Italy, in 1971, and a grasp’s in worldwide relations from the College of California, Santa Barbara, in 1972.

He married Elena Carretta in 1973. They later divorced. He married Kate Cooney in 2000; in addition they later divorced. Alongside together with his son Giacomo, he’s survived by one other son, Liam, and a granddaughter.

Mr. Picco utilized to work on the United Nations on a whim and landed a job on the lowest skilled pay grade, within the Division of Political and Safety Council Affairs. Two years later he joined the Workplace of Particular Political Affairs to deal with battle decision, a publish that quickly had him on the entrance traces in Cyprus.

By the top of the Nineteen Seventies he had a repute as a dependable and reliably low-profile fixer. After Cyprus he labored across the Center East, together with a multiyear engagement making an attempt to finish the Iran-Iraq Battle. It lastly got here to an in depth in 1988.

His mentor, Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar, left the secretary normal’s workplace in 1991, and Mr. Picco knew that his time on the United Nations would most probably finish as properly. Although he admired the brand new workplace holder, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, he realized that Mr. Boutros-Ghali had his personal priorities, and his personal employees.

Mr. Picco had another mission. There have been two remaining hostages, Thomas Kemptner and Heinrich Struebig, each German assist employees.

Mr. Picco recounted his profession in a memoir, printed in 1999.Credit score…Crown

He returned to Lebanon, regardless of being instructed by an Iranian official that a number of of the terrorists wished him lifeless, a tense dialog he recounted in his 1999 memoir, “Man With out a Gun: One Diplomat’s Secret Battle to Free the Hostages, Combat Terrorism, and Finish a Battle.” In Beirut, he met with officers from Germany, Lebanon and Syria; after a number of days of tense negotiations, the 2 males have been launched.

In the course of the celebrations that adopted, Mr. Picco known as his secretary in New York and requested her to ship a letter he had left on his desk to Mr. Boutros-Ghali’s workplace. It contained his resignation.

He flew with the Germans to Frankfurt, however he declined a proposal to hitch their information convention on the airport tarmac.

“As the eye shifted to them, I slipped out of the airplane unnoticed and walked underneath the plane and throughout the tarmac to a ready automotive,” he wrote in his memoir. “Inside seconds I used to be gone.”



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