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Ethiopia laments death of Sudan’s First Vice President Garang

8/1/2005 11:54pm

ADDIS ABABA, Aug 1, 2005 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia on Monday lamented the death of Sudan’s First Vice President and former rebel leader John Garang, saying that his death is a blow "not only to the peoples of Sudan but also to peoples of the region and Ethiopians."

John GarangA statement issued from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ethiopia received the death of Garang with utmost shock and profound grief.

Garang, head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army ( SPLM/A) for more than two decades, died in a helicopter crash in southern Sudan on Saturday.

"He was a true Sudanese with a dream of a united and equitable Sudan whose diverse people would live in peace, harmony and on the basis full equality," the statement said.

"What makes the tragedy all the more painful and heavy is the fact that his loss has come at a time when Dr. Garang’s role and stature was so crucial to consolidate the peace in Sudan and to keep the momentum in the process of national reconciliation in the country," it said.

Garang was sworn in as first vice president only on July 9 and he played a key role in reaching the peace deal earlier this year, ending 21 years of civil war that killed more than two million people.

The ministry urged the international community to stand behind the people and the government of Sudan with the utmost sympathy and understanding.

"We stand behind the people of Sudan during this difficult time with the deepest awareness that their loss is our loss and that the legacy of the commitment to peace and brotherhood among peoples that Dr. Garang left behind is also our legacy and our cause."

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