White House mourns Gus Dur
HONOLULU: The White House Wednesday mourned Indonesia’s ex-president Abdurrahman Wahid, praising him as a paragon of religious tolerance who played a vital role in a democratic transition.
“The people of the United States join Indonesians in mourning the death of former President Abdurrahman Wahid,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
“A pivotal figure in Indonesia’s transition to democracy, President Wahid will be remembered for his commitment to democratic principles, inclusive politics, and religious tolerance,” Gibbs said.
“He worked for peace and prosperity for all Indonesians, and he sought to be a bridge between people of different faiths. We extend our deepest condolences to former President Wahid’s family and to the people of Indonesia.”
Wahid, who came to power in 1999 after Indonesia’s first general elections following the fall of military strongman Suharto, died in hospital earlier Wednesday, aged 69.
President Barack Obama, currently vacationing in his native Hawaii, spent a number of childhood years in Indonesia, a period which he has said left him with many fond memories. -- AFP