Prime Minister Theresa May and world leaders pay tribute to Shimon Peres

By September 28 2016, 14:16 Latest News No Comments

shimon-peres-1Prime Minister Theresa May joined world leaders and Conservatives today to pay tribute to the “visionary and courageous statesman” Shimon Peres, who passed away this morning at the age of 93.

Mourning the passing of the former Israeli leader, Prime Minister May said:

“I am deeply saddened to hear that Shimon Peres has died. He was a visionary and courageous statesman, who worked relentlessly for peace and never lost hope that this would one day be achievable. He was a truly deserving winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“My thoughts go out to the Israeli people and the family of Shimon Peres as they mourn the loss of a beloved father and compatriot – a great man who epitomised optimism and a belief that by working together we can build a brighter future for generations to come”.

Foreign Secretary Johnson and Prince Charles will attend his funeral and burial on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl on Friday.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened to hear of one of the great leaders of our time”. He released the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of the great leaders of our time, Shimon Peres.

“In my last conversation with him he told me that “pessimists and optimists pass away the same way. But if you leave as an optimist you have had a better life.” He certainly had a better life and throughout his long and distinguished career he was a towering figure in Israel and around the world. He was a man of action but also one of peace and we should remember his tireless efforts to secure a lasting peace for the Middle East.

“My deepest sympathies are with his family and the people of Israel at this time of mourning”.

The UK’s Ambassador to the Israel, David Quarrey, said: “Deepest condolences to the family of President Peres and all Israelis from Government and people of the UK.  A towering figure of our time”.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis  described the former leader as a “true giant amongst men” He said: “It is true that Shimon Peres was a great statesman. He was the noblest of soldiers, a born leader, a uniquely talented diplomat, an inspiring speaker and a relentless campaigner. But, more significantly than any of those things, Shimon Peres was the greatest living example of an unshakable belief in the pursuit of peace against all odds”.

He added: “No matter what the future holds, your legacy lives on in the Jewish people who will never rest until we achieve our eternal dream of peace among the peoples of the world”.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron mourned the news of Mr Peres’s death, stating: “One of the founding fathers of Israel and a believer in peace has left us. Today we mourn the loss of a great man”.

Conservative MP and CFI Officer Will Quince joined tributes on Twitter, stating: “Sad to hear of the passing of Shimon Peres overnight. A founding father of Israel, twice PM, President and Nobel Peace prize recipient. RIP”.

Over a six -decade career, Shimon Peres held virtually every senior political office, including two stints as Prime Minister and extended terms as Foreign, Defence and Finance minister. He served as President from 2007 to 2014, becoming the first Israeli President to have also served as Prime Minister.

He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his role as one of the architects of the 1993 Oslo Accords which brought about an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians and set the path for direct negotiations.

The former Israeli leader suffered a major stroke earlier this month. His condition deteriorated significantly on Tuesday and he passed away due to complications.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Americans owed Mr. Peres a debt of gratitude for his efforts to strengthen ties, stretching back to his work with the administration of John F. Kennedy. “No one did more over so many years as Shimon Peres to build the alliance between our two countries”.

President Obama said: “Shimon was the essence of Israel itself—the courage of Israel’s fight for independence”.

He asserted: “There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves. My friend Shimon was one of those people”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Mr Peres as “a man of peace”, stating: “Shimon Peres was, above all, a man of peace. My deepest condolences to his loved ones and to the people of Israel on his passing”.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he bowed his head “together with all the citizens of Israel, the Jewish People and many others throughout the world” in memory of Peres, who “dedicated his life to the independence of our people.”

In a statement PM Netanyahu said: “As a man of vision, he looked to the future. As a man of security, he strengthened Israel’s power in many ways, some of which remain unknown to this day. As a man of peace, he worked until his final days for reconciliation with our neighbours and for a better future for our children”.

He added: “Shimon Peres’s name will be etched forever in the book about the rebirth of the Jewish People, as one of the great leaders of the State of Israel, and as one of the founding fathers who established the State of Israel”.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hailed Peres as a “brave” partner for peace and sent his family condolences over his death: “Peres was a partner in making the brave peace with the martyr Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister (Yitzhak) Rabin, and made unremitting efforts to reach a lasting peace from the Oslo agreement until the final moments of his life”.

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