I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Shimon Peres, the former President of the State of Israel. I offer condolences to his family and friends, and to the people of Israel.
Shimon Peres played a central role in Israel’s founding, and served his country throughout his life, not only as President but also Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and in other key roles. He worked tirelessly for a two-state solution that would enable Israel to live securely and harmoniously with the Palestinians and the wider region, a commitment duly recognized when he shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. He was also a good partner of the United Nations, eager to see Israel contribute to the work of the international community.
I met Mr. Peres on many occasions, and always benefitted from his views. Even in the most difficult hours, he remained an optimist about the prospects for reconciliation and peace.
As he once said at the United Nations, “The time has come to comprehend that the real triumph is in the harvest of peace, not in the seeds of another war. When we replace war maps with peace maps, we will discover the differences were minimal. The wars were appalling. We shall see that the promised land could have become the land of promise a long time ago.”
May his spirit of determination guide us as we work to ensure peace, security and dignity for Israelis, Palestinians and all the peoples of the region.
27 September 2016