Date
12 December 2018
A file picture from July 1991 shows George H. W. Bush (L) and then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev shaking hands at the end of a news conference in Moscow. Photo: Reuters
A file picture from July 1991 shows George H. W. Bush (L) and then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev shaking hands at the end of a news conference in Moscow. Photo: Reuters

Tributes pour in for former US president George H.W. Bush

World leaders paid tribute to former US President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday night at his home in Houston, Texas at the age of 94.

Bush, the 41st US president who served in the office from 1989 to 1993, was remembered for his role in helping to end the Cold War and reduce the threat of nuclear annihilation, Reuters reports.

Speaking in Buenos Aires, US President Donald Trump called Bush “a high-quality man.”

“He was a very fine man. I met him on numerous occasions. He was just a high-quality man who truly loved his family,” Trump told reporters at a G20 summit. “He was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed. He led a full life, and a very exemplary life, too.”

The White House said a state funeral will be held on Wednesday at the National Cathedral in Washington.

Trump, who plans to attend the funeral with first lady Melania Trump, also designated Wednesday as a national day of mourning, and ordered the lowering of the American flag for 30 days.

Former US presidents lauded Bush. “His administration was marked by grace, civility and social conscience,” Jimmy Carter, a Bush predecessor and now the oldest living former president at 94, said in a statement.

Barack Obama described Bush as “a patriot and humble servant”, while Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in the 1992 presidential election, recalled his “great long life of service, love and friendship.”

Bush, a US naval aviator during World War Two, was the father of former President George W. Bush, who served two terms in the White House in the 2000s, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 Republican nomination for president. 

His death came seven months after that of his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, to whom he was married for 73 years. He was admitted to a Houston hospital with a blood infection that led to sepsis a day after her funeral in April.

“The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens,” George W. Bush said in a statement.

At the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled visiting him in the White House. “He was the father or one of the fathers of German reunification and we will never forget that,” she said.

Bush served as president during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“His ethos of public service was the guiding thread of his life and an example to us all,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May. “In navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War, he made the world a safer place for generations to come.”

Bush routed President Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War but lost his chance for a second term in the White House after breaking a no-new-taxes pledge.

“Many of my memories are linked to him,” said Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, with whom Bush signed a strategic arms reduction treaty that scaled back the two countries’ nuclear arsenals.

“We happened to work together in years of great changes. It was a dramatic time demanding huge responsibility from everyone,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Gorbachev as saying.

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RC

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