President Rivlin meets world leaders, and receives condolences from around the world on the passing of Israel’s Ninth President, Shimon Peres
President Reuven Rivlin met today (Friday) with a number of world leaders visiting Israel to attend the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres. In meetings held at the President’s Residence, the President welcomed the King of Spain, the Prince of Wales, the President of France, the Governor General of Australia, and the Prime Minister of Canada.
In the morning, President Rivlin welcomed His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, and expressed his appreciation for the King’s attendance at the funeral of “one of the founders, one of the builders of the State of Israel, an important personality in the history of our people.”
The King expressed his condolences and those of all the Spanish people on the passing of former President Peres, he noted he was “a great man and a great statesman, as well as being great friend of Spain”. He commented that President Peres had done much to build relations between the two peoples, and paid tribute to “his efforts for peace worldwide”.
The King extended an invitation to President Rivlin to visit Spain, and the two went on to speak about the long history between the Jewish people and Spain, including the great tradition of the Jewish scholars and culture which prospered there before the Expulsion. The President similarly stressed the importance of recognition for the Jewish people’s historic roots in the land of Israel.
Among the leaders that President Rivlin met with before the funeral were Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. President Rivlin stressed to him the importance he placed in building confidence between the two sides. President Abbas expressed his desire that they would meet under different circumstances.
After the funeral, President Rivlin welcomed to his residence His Royal Highness, Charles Prince of Wales and expressed his appreciation for his arrival in order to attend the funeral of the late President Peres.
Prince Charles thanked the President for his warm welcome, and said “It is a very sad moment, and I want to convey the deep condolences of the Queen to you on this sad occasion. President Peres, of whom I have very fond memories of meeting, tried so hard to achieve the peace that is badly needed.” The two went on to discuss issues including the necessity and challenges of building bridges between different faith communities.
Later in the afternoon President Rivlin welcomed President Hollande of France, Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.
In addition to his meetings, President Rivlin had received in the past few days many messages of condolence sent to him and all the people of Israel on the passing of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres. Messages were received from both serving and former world leaders from across the globe.
Pope Francis sent a telegram marking his warm appreciation for former President Peres and said, “I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples.”
King Abdullah II of Jordan wrote to President Rivlin and said of President Peres that, “his contribution towards achieving peace and security in the region are more relevant than ever before, as the situation becomes more complex and the security of this entire region comes under threat.”
In a joint letter, European Council President Tusk and European Commission President Junker described President Peres as “an icon on the world stage who will be dearly missed for his unwavering dedication to coexistence in the Middle East between all peoples.”
Similarly, in a message from India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, he noted that, “The worldwide admiration and accolades that he received for his work – including the Noble Peace Prize, are a testimony to the values that he stood for.” Meanwhile China’s President Xi expressed his condolences and noted, that President Peres “had made important contributions to China-Israel ties”.
In a telegram, Queen Elizabeth II expressed her “heartfelt condolences,” and recalled warmly meeting President Peres in 2008, while British Prime Minister Theresa May said that “President Peres had many friends in the UK, and there is a profound sense of loss here today.” She noted he was a “towering figure in Israel’s history,” and added, “his determination to look to the future was always an inspiration.”
Also sending their condolences to President Rivlin were heads of state from Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Georgia, Belgium, Sweden, Azerbaijan and many others.
Attached photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)