Photo: AP
Clinton: 'An honor to work, argue with him'
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Obama: Deepest condolences to the Sharon family
Photo: AP
Photo: Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Photo: Reuters
Sharon in the eyes of world leaders
From Obama to Ban Ki-moon, world leaders paid tribute to Ariel Sharon. 'It was an honor to work with him, argue with him, and watch him,' the Clintons said in a statement
Leaders from around the world paid their respect to former-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.


US President Barack Obama said: "On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel.



Obama further noted that: "We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country."


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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also paid tribute to former Israeli prime minister: "Throughout a life dedicated to the State of Israel, Ariel Sharon was a hero to his people, first as a soldier and then a statesman.


"Prime Minister Sharon will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip,” Ban added.


Former US President Bill Clinton and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement, saying: "Ariel Sharon gave his life to Israel - to bring it into being, to sustain and preserve it, and at the end of his long service, to create a new political party committed to both a just peace and lasting security.


"It was an honor to work with him, argue with him, and watch him always trying to find the right path for his beloved country," the Clintons said in a statement.


Former US president George W. Bush on Saturday paid tribute to his one-time peace process partner Ariel Sharon, who passed away at the age of 85.


"I was honored to know this man of courage and call him friend," Bush said. "He was a warrior for the ages and a partner in seeking security for the Holy Land and a better, peaceful Middle East." 


Vice President Joe Biden, who will lead US representatives at Ariel Sharon's memorial service, said: "I look forward to leading the US delegation to his memorial service, to pay respects to the man and to pay tribute to the unshakeable partnership between the United States and Israel."


British Prime Minister David Cameron said "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," Cameron told the BBC.


The Kremlin filed a statment saying that 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."


French President Francois Hollande offered his condolences to Sharon's family, emphasizing his actions at the end of his career. “After a long military and political career, he made the choice to turn towards dialogue with the Palestinians,” Hollande said in a statement.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel also she "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 said.


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


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


The Associated Press and AFP contributed to this report


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