Arafat: Reactions of the world's leaders

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The Independent Online

Reactions from around the world to the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat:

Reactions from around the world to the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat:

"The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people. For the Palestinian people, we hope that the future will bring peace and the fulfillment of their aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine that is at peace with its neighbors."
US President George W. Bush

"He was an influential political figure on an international scale ... He dedicated his life to the Palestinian people's just cause, the fight for their inalienable right to crate an independent state, which would coexist with Israel within recognized and secure borders."
Russian President Vladimir Putin

"The recent events could be a historic turning point for the Middle East... Israel is a country that seeks peace and will continue its efforts to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians without delay."
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

"I think history will judge him very harshly for not having seized the opportunity ... to embrace the offer that was very courageously made by the then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard

"However others viewed him, the Palestinians saw him as the father of their nation."
Former US President Bill Clinton

"President Arafat was one of those few leaders who could be instantly recognized by people in any walk of life all around the world. For nearly four decades, he expressed and symbolized in his person the national aspirations of the Palestinian people."
Secretary-General Kofi Annan

"There is no doubt that with the death of Yasser Arafat an era has ended ... for good or bad." — Shimon Peres, former Israeli prime minister

"He left for God but he is still among this great people."
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, senior Arafat aide

"It is one of the tragedies of the world that he didn't understand that the terror that began here would spread to the entire world."
Yosef Lapid, Israeli justice minister

"His passing has to be a positive sign for future Middle East peace prospects, because under his leadership things could not have been worse."
Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles

"Yasir Arafat's legacy is one of terrorism and failed leadership. Instead of building a state for the Palestinian people, he focused on ways to destroy the Jewish state of Israel."
Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League

"He led his people to an historic acceptance and the need for a two-state solution."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair

"With him disappears the man of courage and conviction who, for 40 years, has incarnated the Palestinians' combat for recognition of their national rights."
French President Jacques Chirac

"He was indeed a pioneer who had laid out the foundation for the establishment of a Palestinian state."
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi