(dpa) - Former British prime minister Tony Blair paid tribute to Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who announced his resignation Wednesday, for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process, national broadcaster RTE reported.
Blair said he had the greatest "respect, admiration and friendship" for Ahern, RTE reported.
"He said that he will always be remembered for his crucial role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland, for transforming relations between Britain and the Irish Republic and for presiding over a sustained period of economic and social advance in Ireland," RTE quoted Blair as saying.
"Ahern will have, deservedly, a central place in his nation's political history and much more widely," he said.
Ahern was also a key figure in Europe, Blair said.
Ahern said Wednesday he would step down as prime minister and leader of the Fianna Fail party on May 6.