Thank you Mr. President,
It is a great honor for my country to be allowed this occasion and have the United Nations General Assembly commemorate the passing of our dear President, His Excellency Amata Kabua. He was our first President, and the faith of our peoples in his guidance was shown by his re-election to the Presidency on five consecutive occasions. In many ways, President Kabua can be described as the Father of the Modern Marshallese Nation. He was at the forefront of the movement to regain our independence during the Trusteeship period, and was instrumental in the process of regaining our sovereignty and dignity as a Nation. Not only was he the highest elected Government official at the service of the People, he was also the highest traditional leader of the Marshall Islands.
He was one of the true great leaders of the Pacific Island Countries and our loss has been felt throughout the region. When he dies he was Chancellor of the University of South Pacific, and he was the Chairman of the South Pacific Forum. He carried out his duties until the very end, going on a State Visit to Japan to open the Pacific Center in Tokyo on behalf of all the Forum Member Countries.
One of his great legacies to our country has been the institution of the democratic process. On January 16, his successor was democratically elected by the Marshall Islands Parliament. His Excellency President Imata Kabua, who was elected Senator from Kwajalein, has vowed to continue the work of his predecessor and cousin until the end of the current presidential term.
I thank the General Assembly on behalf of the Government and People of the Marshall Islands, and also on behalf of the Family of the late President, for showing us this honor and tribute to the memory of our great leader.
Thank you Mr. President.