President Thabo Mbeki Offers Condolences to the Government and People of Sudan

Pretoria - South African President Thabo Mbeki today, Monday 1 August 2005 extended the heartfelt condolences of the government and people of South Africa to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed el-Bashir and the leadership of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in particular following the death of First Vice President Dr John Garang de Mabior in a helicopter crash.

President Thabo Mbeki said, "It is with great shock and sadness that the Government and people of South Africa learned of the death of Dr John Garang de Mabior, the First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan and the Chair of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A)."

"Dr Garang played a major role, as part of the Sudanese national leadership in bringing about peace and an end to more than two decades of fighting between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A."

President Mbeki continued, "It is especially tragic that Dr Garang's death comes a mere three weeks after his inauguration as the first Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan on 9 July 2005."

"South Africa would like to encourage the Parties in the Sudan to exercise restraint and remain committed to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including the establishment of the Government of National Unity in Khartoum on 9 August 2005, as a legacy to the work and commitment of Dr Garang to a peaceful Sudan."

"On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, I wish to extend our condolences to Your Excellency, the Government and people of Sudan, especially to Dr Garang's family and friends during this time of great sorrow and bereavement," concluded President Thabo Mbeki.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
1 August 2005

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