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World Reacts to Sharon's Death

Saturday, 11 Jan 2014 10:44 AM

 

Here is a selection of reactions from world leaders and others to the death of former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was both admired and despised for his bold style and hard-driving tactics.

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"Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history and as Prime Minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated. Israel has today lost an important leader." — British Prime Minister David Cameron

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"He wanted to erase the Palestinian people from the map ... He wanted to kill us, but at the end of the day, Sharon is dead and the Palestinian people are alive." — Tawfik Tirawi, who served as Palestinian intelligence chief when Sharon was prime minister.

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"After eight years, he is going in the same direction as other tyrants and criminals whose hands were covered with Palestinian blood." — Khalil al-Haya, a leader in the Islamic militant group Hamas

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Russian President Vladimir Putin "highly praised Ariel Sharon's personal qualities and his activities to protect Israel's interests, noting a high respect for him among compatriots and his high authority in the international arena." — The Kremlin.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel "is mourning with the Israeli people" for Sharon. "With his courageous decision to withdraw the Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, he took a historic step on the path to a deal with the Palestinians and a two-state solution." — Steffen Seibert, Merkel's spokesman.

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"His passing is another grim reminder that years of virtual impunity for rights abuses have done nothing to bring Israeli-Palestinian peace any closer." — Leah Whitson, Middle East Director of Human Rights Watch.

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"Today, a strong leader has gone and my thoughts also go to his family." — Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

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"Ariel Sharon's last battle is now over ... Sharon was literally from the beginning a tireless defender of his beloved homeland, Israel." — German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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