Mourn­ers pay re­spects to Peres, Clinton ar­rives

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

For­mer US Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton (cen­tre) ac­com­pa­nied by Is­raeli Pres­i­dent Reu­ven Rivlin (left) and Yuli Edel­stein, the Speaker of the Knes­set, pays his fi­nal re­spects at the cof­fin of for­mer Is­raeli Pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres at the Knes­set plaza in Jerusalem, yes­ter­day. JERUSALEM (AP): FOR­MER US Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton joined thou­sands of Is­raeli mourn­ers yes­ter­day who paid their re­spects to the late Shi­mon Peres out­side Israel’s par­lia­ment in Jerusalem, as the coun­try somberly re­mem­bered the No­bel-win­ning politi­cian who helped lead Israel dur­ing a re­mark­able sev­en­decade ca­reer.

Clinton is among the dozens of cur­rent and for­mer world lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas, ex­pected to gather in Jerusalem on Fri­day for Peres’ fu­neral. The for­mer Is­raeli pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter died on Wed­nes­day, two weeks af­ter suf­fer­ing a stroke, at the age of 93.

Jor­dan’s King Ab­dul­lah II sent his con­do­lences to Israel over the pass­ing of Peres. A se­nior Jor­da­nian min­is­ter, Jawad Anani, will rep­re­sent Am­man at the fu­neral.

The King wrote in a tele­gram to Is­raeli Pres­i­dent Reu­ven Rivlin on Thurs­day that Peres’ “con­tri­bu­tions to­wars achiev­ing peace and se­cu­rity in the re­gion are more rel­e­vant than ever be­fore”.

The king said that “it is vi­tal that the voices of rea­son pre­vail and the ad­vo­cates of peace con­tinue to lead the way”.

Israel and neigh­bour­ing Jor­dan signed a peace deal in 1994.

A se­nior Pales­tinian of­fi­cial said that Ab­bas had de­cided Thurs­day to at­tend the fu­neral, and will come to the event with a small del­e­ga­tion of top aides, in­clud­ing his chief ne­go­tia­tor Saeb Erekat and his se­cu­rity chief Ma­jid Faraj.

In con­trast to an out­pour­ing of grief from West­ern lead­ers, Arab lead­ers have re­mained largely silent over Peres’ death.

Ab­bas was the only Arab leader to ex­press sor­row over Peres’ death on Wed­nes­day. In at­tend­ing the fu­neral, Ab­bas wanted to “send a strong mes­sage to Is­raeli so­ci­ety that the Pales­tini­ans are for peace and ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts of peace­ful men like Shi­mon Peres,” the se­nior of­fi­cial said.

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