FORUM CONDOLENCES FOR TWO LEADERS:

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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT February 22, 1999

FSM'S BAILEY OLTER AND VANUATU'S FATHER WALTER LINI

The Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Mr. Noel Levi, CBE, has said the passing away of two former government leaders will be felt throughout the region.

The former President of the Federated States of Micronesia, HE Bailey Olter, and the former Prime Minister of Vanuatu, HE Father Walter Lini, died within the past week after long illnesses.

"Both leaders were very much part of the processes which led to independence for their respective countries. They have a proud legacy of service and dedication to their people and the region which will remain as an example to us all," Mr. Levi said.

Father Lini led Vanuatu, formerly the New Hebrides, to independence from Britain and France in 1980 and served as the country's first Prime Minister from July 1980 to September 1991.

During a distinguished political career Father Lini also served twice as Forum Chair when Vanuatu hosted the South Pacific Forum meeting of Forum Leaders in 1981 and 1990.

Former President HE Bailey Olter was the third President for the Federated States of Micronesia from May 1991 and was re-elected for a second term in 1995.

The former teacher and businessman had a distinguished career in public service both during the period of United Nations Trusteeship under the United States administration and subsequent independence for the Federated States of Micronesia.

"We join the people of Vanuatu and the Federated States of Micronesia, and the families of the late Prime Minister Lini and President Olter, as they mourn the passage of two former leaders of the Forum family," Mr. Levi said.

State funerals for the two former leaders have been arranged in their respective countries.

For additional information: Ulafala Aiavao (UlafalaA@forumsec.org.fj)

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