The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, has expressed his sorrow at the death, after a long illness, of the former Vanuatu Prime Minister, Edward Natapei.
In a message of condolence to his Vanuatu counterpart, Sato Kilman, the Prime Minister described Mr Natapei – who was 61 – as a great leader of Vanuatu whose death was a tragedy not only for the country but for his family and colleagues.
“While we sometimes had diverging views, I always regarded Mr Natapei as someone who had the interests of his country at heart,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr Natapei’s political career was marked by a long record of service to the Ni Vanuatu, including two terms as Prime Minister, from 2001 to 2004 and from 2008 to 2011.
In addition, he was Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from 2013 to 2014.