Tributes for 'courageous' late Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

Jordan, the UAE and many Palestinians pay respects to senior PLO figure

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dies of Covid-19

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dies of Covid-19
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International leaders paid tribute to veteran Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat after his death on Tuesday.

The former secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation was described as “courageous,” and a “giant” of the movement.

King Abdullah II of Jordan was one of the first to offer condolences in a phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash offered condolences to Erekat's family.

"May God have mercy on Dr Saeb, who represented his country and people with all sincerity and dedication," he tweeted. "Our condolences to the family of the deceased and to the Palestinian people."

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also paid his respects, saying he was saddened to hear of the news that a "champion of dialogue and Palestinian rights" had died.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair said that although he differed from Erekat on how to achieve peace, he "never doubted for one moment his sincerity, his knowledge or his deep and abiding commitment to the Palestinian people and to peace".

"He dedicated his life to the cause of an independent sovereign state of Palestine and it is tragic that he never lived to see it come into being. But when it does, he will be remembered as one of its core architects," Mr Blair said.

A host of Mr Erekat’s peers marked his passing with statements.

Mr Abbas said Mr Erekat’s death was a “great loss for Palestine and our people, and we feel deeply saddened by his loss, especially in light of these difficult circumstances facing the Palestinian cause”.

Mr Abbas said flags will be flown at half mast for three days.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official who also tested positive for coronavirus last month, said Mr Erekat’s death marked “a significant transition in Palestinian history and reality”.

“Rest in peace and power my friend,” she wrote on Twitter.

Ahmad Tibi, leader of the Ta’al party and a member of the Israeli Knesset since 1999, described Mr Erekat as “a friend and courageous leader”.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List in the Knesset, also paid his respects.

“Saeb will not get to see his people freed from the chains of occupation, but generations of Palestinians will remember him as one of the giants who dedicated his life for their independence,” he tweeted.

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Saeb Erekat gallery