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As communism collapsed across Central and Eastern Europe, he oversaw warming relations with the Soviet Union and Mikhail Gorbachev

George HW Bush to lie in state in the US Capitol

WT24 Desk

The body of former US President George HW Bush is to lie in state next week ahead of a day of national mourning, BBC reports.

An arrival ceremony will be held for Bush Snr on Monday evening at the US Capitol. The public will be invited to pay their respects.

Bush served as the 41st US president between 1989 and 1993, and died late on Friday. A funeral service will be held at a later date at the National Cathedral in Washington DC.

The former president had been receiving treatment for a form of Parkinson’s disease and had been admitted to hospital with a blood infection in April.

He died aged 94 in Houston, Texas.

What are the funeral plans?

The presidential plane will be flown to Houston to bring the former president’s body to Washington DC.

His body will lie in state in the US Capitol until 07:00 EST (12:00 GMT) on Wednesday, where the public will be able to pay tribute.

He will be buried at the presidential library in Texas, alongside his wife, Barbara Bush, who died seven months ago.

The Bush family said they would announce additional details about funeral arrangements “as soon as is practical”.

A statement from a joint military task force supporting events around the state funeral promised a “nothing less than a first-class tribute”.

The White House said President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump would attend, despite not being at the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Dozens of other world leaders are also expected to be in attendance.

Although US President Donald Trump has had difficult relations with the Bush family, he has declared Wednesday, 5 December, a national day of mourning. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will also be closed on Wednesday in his honor.

Mr Trump also called off a press conference planned at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires as a mark of respect for Bush. Speaking in Buenos Aires, the U.S. President called Bush “a high-quality man.”

He was a terrific guy and he’ll be missed. He led a full life, and a very exemplary life, too,” he told reporters.

Who has been paying tribute?

  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that “in navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War he made the world a safer place for generations to come”
  • Queen Elizabeth said he was “a great friend and ally” of the United Kingdom
  • His successor, Bill Clinton, said he and Hillary gave “thanks for his great long life of service, love and friendship”, adding: “I am grateful for every minute I spent with him and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts”
  • Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hailed Bush’s contribution to ending the Cold War and reducing nuclear weapons. Both men signed the first Start treaty in 1991, which led to big cuts in long-range nuclear weapons. “He was a genuine partner,” Mr Gorbachev said.

The last state funeral for a former president was that of Gerald Ford, which began on 30 December 2006 with a lying in state and service at the US Capitol.

The US flag was flown at half mast on official buildings for 30 days.

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