Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (L) offers incense to former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai at Thong Nhat Hall in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The funeral for former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai who passed away in Ho Chi Minh City on March 17 started at 8am on March 20 at the city’s Thong Nhat Hall.

Leaders of the Party, State, National Assembly, Government and the Vietnam Fatherland Front and people from localities nationwide gathered at the Thong Nhat Conventional Hall from early morning to pay their last respect to the former Prime Minister.

The Party delegation was led by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Writing in the book of condolences, the Party leader expressed his deep sorrow at the passing away of the former Government leader who was also dearly called Sau Khai.

He highlighted Khai’s sacrifices and devotion to the revolutionary course of the Party and nation, while conveying deep sympathy to the late leader’s family.

Meanwhile, President Tran Dai Quang, who led the State delegation, vowed that he will follow the example of former PM Khai to exert every effort for national construction, safeguarding and development.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who led the Government delegation, wrote in the book of condolences that comrade Khai was an excellent leader of the country. As head of the Vietnamese Government from 1997 to 2006, he led the country in an important period of reform and integration, stated the PM.

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan led the NA delegation to the service.

The ceremony also saw delegations from the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee led by its President Tran Thanh Man, the Party Committee, People’s Council, People’s Committee and Vietnam Fatherland Front of Ho Chi Minh City led by Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, along with delegations of ministries, sectors, organisations and localities.

A similar ceremony was also held in Hanoi to pay last homage to former PM Phan Van Khai.

[Photos: State funeral for former PM Phan Van Khai]

From early morning, hundreds of people queued at the International Convention Centre at Le Hong Phong Street to offer incense for the late Government leader.

A delegation of Party and State incumbent and former leaders led by Nguyen Van Binh, Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, was the first to pay tribute to comrade Phan Van Khai.

Delegations of the Government and National Assembly and ministries, sectors, orgnaisations paid their last tribute to the former PM.

Earlier on March 17-19, thousands of people from localities nationwide visited and conveyed their condolences to the family of former PM Khai at his residence in Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City.

Phan Van Khai was born on December 25, 1933 in Cu Chi district, Ho Chi Minh City.

As one of the high-ranking Party and State leaders in the first phase of the country's Renewal and nation-building cause, PM Khai was active and determined to build the institution under the spirit of renewal to utilise the capacities of all economic sectors, especially the private one, together with opening door to the world and integrating internationally.

During his nearly two working terms, fundamental laws in the first phase of the Renewal and door-opening process were built.

The Government chaired by PM Khai left its working-term marks by the issuance of the Business Law, the annulment of hundreds of licences, the involvement in many tough talks to negotiate Vietnam's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and more.

The Party and State have presented PM Khai the Golden Star Order and the 55-year Party Membership Badge (2014), in recognition of his dedications to the country's revolutionary cause.-VNA