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UPDATED: 13:17, April 10, 2006
Gabonese senate speaker passes away in Paris
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Gabonese senate speaker Georges Rawiri passed away in Paris on Sunday at the age of 74, the Gabon government said in a statement on Gabonese national television on Sunday night.

Rawiri, born in western Gabon on March 10, 1932, had been in the Gabonese government since President Omar Bongo Ondimba took office in 1967. As one of the senate founders, he was elected as first senate speaker in 1997 and reelected in 2003.

"For me, Georges has been more than a brother, a parent," said President Ondimba, adding he was unprecedented in Gabonese history.

The president declared seven days of mourning from Monday with flags lowered to half-mast in the country.

Source: Xinhua

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