World lead­ers mourn, praise the man and his lead­er­ship

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - —AP

Cur­rent and for­mer world lead­ers mourned the pass­ing of Shi­mon Peres on Wednes­day, prais­ing him as a pa­triot, vi­sion­ary states­man and man of prin­ci­ple who was deeply com­mit­ted to pur­su­ing peace in a re­gion that has mostly eluded it.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama called Peres “the essence of Is­rael it­self,” not­ing he had fought for Is­rael’s in­de­pen­dence, worked its land and served Is­rael in vir­tu­ally ev­ery gov­ern­ment po­si­tion, in­clud­ing three stints as prime min­is­ter.

“I’ll never for­get how happy he was 23 years ago when he signed the Oslo Ac­cords on the White House lawn, herald­ing a more hope­ful era in Is­raeli-Pales­tinian re­la­tions,” for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton said in a state­ment. “He was a ge­nius with a big heart who used his gifts to imag­ine a fu­ture of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion not con­flict.”

Peres, who served in the largely cer­e­mo­nial role of pres­i­dent from 2007 to 2014, rep­re­sented a mod­er­ate face of Is­rael af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu took of­fice in 2009. He re­mained ac­tive in try­ing to achieve peace.

For­mer Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Tony Blair, who also worked as a Mideast peace en­voy, said Peres’ “com­mit­ment to peace and his be­lief that it was in the in­ter­ests of the coun­try he adored marked him out as a vi­sion­ary whose vi­sion was never dimmed or dis­placed.”

Ne­tanyahu is­sued a state­ment mourn­ing the pass­ing of Peres and said he would con­vene his Cab­i­net for a spe­cial ses­sion. Af­ter that, a spe­cial com­mit­tee was to meet to pre­pare ar­range­ments for a fu­neral that many in­ter­na­tional dig­ni­taries and lead­ers from around the world are ex­pected to at­tend.

Euro­pean Union for­eign pol­icy chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini said Peres “be­lieved that the best way to serve the state of Is­rael and to de­liver se­cu­rity to the Is­raeli peo­ple was through peace with the Pales­tini­ans. We can only honor his mem­ory with a daily com­mit­ment to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, pre­serv­ing and ad­vanc­ing his vi­sion for a twostate so­lu­tion.’’

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