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Obama to attend Shimon Peres funeral in Jerusalem

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Washington: US President Barack Obama will attend the funeral in Jerusalem of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, who died earlier on Wednesday, the White House confirmed.

Obama “will lead the US delegation to Jerusalem to participate in the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres,” EFE news quoted the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as saying in a statement.

The President will depart for Israel on Thursday and will return to Washington on Friday after the ceremony, the announcement added.

On Wednesday morning, Earnest had said that Obama would like to attend the state funeral to be held on Friday in Israel and the logistics were being worked out to allow him to do so, providing his remarks to reporters aboard Air Force One taking the President to Richmond, Virginia.

Peres, 93, died early Wednesday morning from complications of a stroke and was one of the great international statesmen of the 1990s, working — among other things — to promote peace in the Middle East.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that about 20 heads of state and government have said they intend to attend the funeral, including French leader François Hollande and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

–IANS

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