7 Jul 2008

Nauru's former President remembered as strong willed but amicable person

3:53 pm on 7 July 2008

Nauru's Foreign Minister says the country will miss one of its most colourful politicians, and one that was committed to improving the life of the Nauruan people.

Former President Rene Harris, who ushered in the Australian Government's controversial Pacific Solution, died at the weekend, aged 61.

He suffered a sudden heart attack on Friday afternoon and died in the early hours of Saturday.

Dr Kieren Keke says, despite his reputation Mr Harris was a very amicable person and easy to work with.

"Rene Harris certainly had a reputation on Nauru for being a very tough man, very strong-willed person, and that rubbed some people up the wrong way. But if you sat down with Rene on a one to one basis, you quickly saw that he was a very amicable kind of person, he was very easy to talk with."

Dr Kieren Keke.

Under the Pacific Solution Nauru allowed Australia to set up two camps to house asylum seekers denied entry into Australia.