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Singapore leaders express condolences over death of former Belgian PM

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong send condolence letters over the death of former Belgian PM Jean-Luc Dehaene.

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has sent a letter to Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo to express his condolences about the death of former Belgian leader Jean-Luc Dehaene.

PM Lee called Mr Dehaene, a "friend of Singapore" and noted his achievements in pushing for crucial social and economic reforms in Belgium, as prime minister from 1992 to 1999.

Mr Dehaene died last week on May 15, after a fall while on vacation in France. He was 73.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has also sent a condolence message to Mr Dehaene's wife, Celia. He praised Mr Dehaene for contributing tirelessly to Belgium and Europe.

The letters are reproduced below:

19 May 2014

Dear Prime Minister Di Rupo,

                On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Singapore, I offer our deepest condolences on the passing of Mr Jean-Luc Dehaene.

                Mr Dehaene made important contributions to Belgium and to Europe. As Prime Minister of Belgium, he pushed through crucial social, constitutional and economic reforms to transform Belgium and improve its peoples’ lives. Mr Dehaene also played a key role in drafting the EU’s constitutional treaty, and served with distinction as a Member of the European Parliament.

                Mr Dehaene was a friend of Singapore. He was the first Belgian Prime Minister to visit our country, and helped to strengthen our bilateral ties during his time in office.

Our thoughts are with his family and the people of Belgium during this time of mourning.

Yours sincerely,

19 May 2014

Mrs Celie Dehaene
Kingdom of Belgium

Dear Mrs Dehaene

                     I was saddened to learn of the passing of your husband, Mr Jean-Luc Dehaene.

                     I had the privilege of meeting Mr Dehaene on several occasions when I was Prime Minister, in and outside Belgium. I especially appreciated the warm hospitality shown by both of you during my visit to Belgium in 1996.

                     Mr Dehaene contributed tirelessly to Belgium and to Europe. He was a friend of Singapore and helped to enhance relations between our two countries.

                     I offer my heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

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