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Shimon Peres dies at 93. President Iohannis to attend funeral

Shimon Peres, the Israeli elder statesman who shared a Nobel Prize for forging a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, has died at 93 after suffering a massive stroke two weeks ago. He was reported to be making progress but doctors said he took a turn for the worse on Tuesday. The 93-year-old died in his sleep at around 3:00am (0000 GMT), Peres’ doctor Rafi Walden, who is also Peres’s son-in-law, told AFP news agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “deep personal grief” in a statement in which he called Peres “the beloved of the nation”. Netanyahu is expected to deliver a personal message later on Wednesday, and the Israeli cabinet will convene for a special mourning session.

Officials said that Peres’ body would lie in state at the Knesset, or parliament, on Thursday to allow the public to pay final respects.

His funeral was set for Friday at Mount Herzl, the country’s national cemetery in Jerusalem. Yona Bartal, a former personal aide to Peres, said the arrangements were in line with his wishes.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday conveyed condolences to his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin on Peres’ death, saying that Shimon Peres was a truly visionary leader.

Shimon Peres will stay in our and the entire humanity’s memory as one of the world personalities who bears no comparisons, a truly visionary leader, through his political activity as prime minister, Israel’s President, founding father of the state of Israel, tireless fighter for a durable solution in the Middle East Peace Process and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was a true statesman, for whom peace has always represented a way to follow, with a deep confidence in humankind and progress. In Romania, we’ll always remember his frank, deep friendship to the Romanian people, Shimon Peres was the first Israeli President who visited our country in 2010,” reads President Iohannis’ message.

According to the Romanian Presidential Administration, Klaus Iohannis will attend the funeral of the former Israeli president.

The Israeli foreign ministry said that US President Barack Obama, former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, the pope and the UK’s Prince Charles are among those who will attend Peres’ funeral.

Peres retired from public office in 2014 after the end of his seven-year term as President. In Israeli politics for more than half a century, he held virtually every position in Cabinet, from minister of defense to Prime Minister, a position he held three times.
He battled Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for Labor Party leadership in the 1980s and 1990s, eventually becoming Rabin’s foreign minister.

About Alina Grigoras Butu