SUVA, Dec. 7 -- Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent his condolences to the government and people of South Africa over the passing of the country's former President Nelson Mandela, the Fijian government announced Saturday.
In the message transmitted through Fiji's foreign ministry to the South African government, Bainimarama said that Mandela " touched the lives of billions around the world, including every Pacific islander" and that his death "is not only a great loss for the South African people," according to the Ministry of Information.
"Every Fijian joins me in being deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela... We keenly feel his passing and convey our profound regret and condolences to the government and people of South Africa," Bainimarama said.
"Your former president gained global fame for his struggle against the evil of apartheid. But he will be most remembered by us for the way in which he reconciled former enemies, united all South Africans and set the nation on a different path. This was an example to the whole world and will continue to set a benchmark of exemplary national leadership," said Bainimarama.
"We were also touched by his personal qualities -- his humanity, dignity and bearing. These are qualities that are also deeply valued in Fijian society and which made your former president a revered figure in our small island nation," the Fijian prime minister said.
"The thoughts of every Fijian are with the South African people as you mourn the loss of this great man. He was not only leader of South Africa but a beacon of courage, decency and selflessness for the whole world. He was genuinely loved and we will never forget him."