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UPDATE: World leaders mourn the death of longtime Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

RAMALLAH, Foreign and Arab leaders today mourned the death of longtime Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who passed away today after contracting Covid-19.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II expressed his deep sympathies to President Mahmoud Abbas and the Erekat family over the passing of late Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Erekat.
“His Majesty King Abdullah II, in a phone call, extends condolences to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, over the passing of Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization and member of the Fatah Central Committee,” The Royal Hashemite Court tweeted.
Similar condolences were sent by Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also extended his condolences and sympathy to Erekat’s family and the Palestinian leadership and people over Erekat’s loss.
“The Palestinian cause and the entire Arab world have lost a steadfast patriot, who had clear and legitimate case and goals. Erekat has devoted his life to defending [the cause] through all diplomatic and negotiated means in order to restore the rights of the Palestinian people despite of the obstacles and difficult circumstances faced by the Palestinian cause in the past decades,” the statement said.
It added that Erekat’s name will remain a “beacon and symbol for honorable resistance and the Palestinian national project.”
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit mourned the death of Erekat, whom he eulogized for his “national positions in the service of the just Palestinian cause.”
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also paid tribute to the veteran negotiator.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Saeb Erekat and the Palestinian people,” Mladenov wrote on Twitter.
“You remained convinced that Israel and Palestine can live in peace; never gave up on negotiations; and stood proudly for your people! We will miss you, my friend. May you rest in peace!”
European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, also mourned Erekat saying, “His passing away represents a great loss for the Palestinian people and for the Middle East peace process.”
“During his life, Saeb Erekat tirelessly sought to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of his people. As a key participant to the negotiations for the Oslo Accords, he always advocated a just and lasting negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He personally contributed to developing close relations between the EU and Palestine. I am grateful to him for his contribution in this regard,” said Borrell, extending “my heartfelt condolences to his family, to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and to the people of Palestine.”
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called Erekat a “champion of dialogue and Palestinian rights.” “I am saddened to hear the news of his tragic passing,” he added.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh paid tribute to the memory of Erekat’s “patriotic stance on numerous occasions in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people and their just cause” and described him as “a sincere son of Palestine and a loyal fighter for the Palestinian people’s freedom and independence.”
Lebanon’s Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri has also mourned Erekat saying his absence is “a big loss for the Palestinian presence in Arab and international forums.” He said that the deceased has left significant marks in the defense of the Palestinian cause.
President Mahmoud Abbas received a cable from Sultan of Oman Haitham Bin Tareq, expressing his sincere and heartfelt condolences over the death of Erekat.
President Abbas also received a cable from Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, expressing his sincere and heartfelt condolences over the death of Erekat.
Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, phoned call president Mahmoud Abbas, extending his condolences over the death of Erekat, and commending the virtues of the deceased and praising his national stances in serving the just Palestinian cause.
President of Malta offered his condolences over the death of Erekat, stating in his telegram: “On behalf of the people of Malta I salute the memory of Saeb Erekat, a passionate Palestinian patriot, a consummate diplomat, and an internationally respected negotiator. Condolences to his family and dear ones, and to all Palestinians.”
Meanwhile, Maltese politician and minister for European and foreign affairs said: “Malta salutes Saeb Erekat – a passionate advocate for the Palestinian cause and one of the key authors of the landmark Oslo peace accords between Israeli and Palestinian Territories, his legacy lives on.”
Luxembourgish Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn extended his heartfelt condolences to Saeb Erekat’s family and all Palestinians. “Saeb was a personal friend. He never gave up on achieving peace through a negotiated two-state solution. May his life inspire those who advocate for Palestinian rights and dignity,” he said.
EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Susanna Terstal, extended her heartfelt condolences to his family.
She said: “It is with great sadness that I learnt today of the passing of #SaebErekat. We had many discussions on the two state solution and the best way to achieve it. He was a true advocate of peace, negotiations and justice.”
Irish minister of foreign affairs, Simon Coveney, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I heard of the death today of Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the PLO and Palestinian Chief Negotiator.”
“Dr. Erekat was a leading voice for Palestinians and for peace. His willingness to engage and talk when it was not always easy or popular was a clear demonstration of his belief that through dialogue and negotiation, even the most difficult issues could be resolved. His contribution to peace, including the Oslo Peace Process, is testament to that,” he said.
“I met with Dr. Erekat on many occasions during my visits to the region and in Dublin, when he accompanied President Abbas on his visit in 2018. We spoke regularly and I was always impressed by his commitment, which we share, to a just and lasting peace. While Dr. Erekat’s vision for peace was not achieved during his lifetime, it is for all of us in the international community to honour that commitment by working together for a pathway for peace in the Middle East.”
“I would like to extend my sympathies to his family and friends at this very difficult time, and to the Palestinian community in Ireland who will mourn his loss,” he concluded.
King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, sent a cable of condolences to president Mahmoud Abbas over the death of Erekat.
The king expressed his sincere and heartfelt condolences to President Abbas and the Palestinian people, praising Erekat’s efforts and contributions to serving the Palestinian cause and defending the rights of the Palestinian people.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov offered his condolences to President Mahmoud Abbas over the death of Saeb Erekat.
In his telegram, Lavrov stressed that the death of Erekat is a great loss for the Palestinian people, noting that Erekat made an invaluable contribution to support Palestinian national interests and implement the main mission, which is the establishment of an independent state of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“We have known Dr. Saeb Erekat as a friend of Russia and a reliable partner, and as a wise politician who devoted his life to establishing constructive dialogue with the Israelis over a full range of final status issues for the Palestinian territories in accordance with the international legal framework approved by the United Nations,” Lavrov noted.
Meanwhile, German Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement on the death of Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat:
We are greatly saddened by the news of the passing of Saeb Erekat. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.
Dr. Erekat made a major contribution to the Middle East peace process in his capacity as chief negotiator for the Palestinians over several decades. As a champion of Palestinian self-determination, he engaged in heated debates but always focused on negotiations with Israel.
Negotiating is said to be the highest art of diplomacy. That this art also has its limits is something Saeb Erekat saw time and again in his homeland so plagued by crisis. But he never lost hope or courage, even in the face of health problems in recent years.
We call on all political leaders to honour Dr. Erekat’s legacy by continuing to actively pursue a peaceful two-state solution.
Meanwhile, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, extended his deepest condolences to the Palestinian people. He stated: “We learned with great sorrow demise of Saeb Erakat, diplomat and politician who dedicated his life to freedom fight of Palestinian people and independent Palestine.:

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA)

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