Fiji Time: 3:23 PM on Wednesday 24 January

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Vanuatu mourns as condolences pour in

Pacnews
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale has passed away, the government confirmed over the weekend.

According to Vanuatu's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Co-operation and External Trade, Mr Lonsdale died on Saturday, and a 10-day national state of mourning has been declared.

Mr Lonsdale, 67, died in Port Vila. Prior to his sudden death, he was rushed to a local hospital after a suspected heart attack.

Mr Lonsdale was elected and sworn in as Vanuatu's president in 2014.

Under the country's constitution, the parliament speaker is now the acting president, before a new head of state is elected.

Australian governor-general, Peter Cosgrove, extended condolences to the president's family, government and the people of Vanuatu after his death.

"Lynne and I recall fondly meeting His Excellency in July 2015 when we visited Vanuatu after the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam," he said.

He served the people of Vanuatu with dignity and humility, and was much loved."

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Twitter she was saddened to hear of Mr Lonsdale's death.

"Condolences to his family, the government and people of Vanuatu," she said.

Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland also expressed her deep sorrow, saying

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of President Lonsdale, who had been serving the people of Vanuatu since September 2014.

"I extend my deepest condolences to his family and I stand in solidarity with the government and people of Vanuatu as they mourn the death of their dedicated and beloved leader," she said.








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