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World leaders remember Saeb Erakat as passionate representative of Palestinian cause

Published: Updated:

Officials around the world paid tribute to Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erakat on Tuesday, after Erakat lost his battle with coronavirus disease at age 65.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II expressed his condolences over the passing of Erakat in a phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the Royal Hashemite Court.

Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri called the passing of Erakat “a big loss for the Palestinian presence in Arab and international forums,” in a post on Twitter.

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European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the passing of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Secretary General was a “great loss for the Palestinian people and for the Middle East Peace Process.”

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) talks with Arab League Chief Nabil el-Araby during their meeting at the Arab League in Cairo August 11, 2014. (Reuters)
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) talks with Arab League Chief Nabil el-Araby during their meeting at the Arab League in Cairo August 11, 2014. (Reuters)

“During his life Saeb Erakat tirelessly sought to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of his people… he always advocated a just and lasting negotiated two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Borrell said in a statement.

Former US ambassador Dennis Ross said he was “saddened” to hear the news about Erakat, whom he first met in 1989.

“He was a devoted husband, father and passionate representative of the Palestinian cause. We might disagree, but I always knew Saeb believed in peace, non-violence, and coexistence with Israel,” Ross said in a tweet.

Erakat’s PLO colleague, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, said that his passing marked “a significant transition in Palestinian history & reality,” in a post on Twitter.

“He was firmly committed to his people’s rights, unwavering in his pursuit of a just peace, & totally undaunted in his quest for freedom & rights. Rest in peace & power my friend,” she said.

Former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said Erakat’s “commitment to pursuing freedom” for Palestinians through peaceful means “will shine forever as a beacon.”

“Rest In Peace my peace brother,” Indyk said in a post on Twitter.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab lauded Erakat as a “champion of dialogue and Palestinian rights.”

“I am saddened to hear the news of his tragic passing,” Raab said in a post on Twitter.

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