SUVA, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's President Jioji Konrote is in Vanuatu representing the island nation at the State funeral for Vanuatu's late President Baldwin Lonsdale.
Lonsdale passed away suddenly at the age of 67 on Saturday and the State funeral was scheduled for Wednesday.
"I wish to express on behalf of the Fijian Government and all Fijians, as well as my own, our profound and sincere condolences and sympathies on the passing away of the President of the Republic of Vanuatu, the late Womtelo Reverend Baldwin Lonsdale," said Konrote.
Konrote said Fijians were shocked and equally saddened to learn of Lonsdale's passing.
Lonsdale had built a strong and admirable reputation as a man of high principles and integrity, who was willing to take a stand for what he believed to be right and proper, for the greater good of his country, said Konrote.
"His death will be a huge loss to the Republic of Vanuatu, as indeed to the Pacific, and we are all the poorer with his passing."
"Our deepest sympathies go to his family and to all our Wantok in Vanuatu," Konrote said.
"With the deep bond of friendship as members of Melanesia and the wider Pacific community, Fiji and all Fijians join Vanuatu in mourning the passing of a paragon of virtue."