Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Maša Taušan/ ds

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Jerusalem on Friday that Israel would cherish the legacy of its former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, expressing hope that the Israeli-Palestinian process would continue.

"Peres did not lead the country for some time, although he did meet with many statesmen while in retirement. I believe that Israel will cherish his legacy now that he is gone," Grabar-Kitarovic told Croatian reporters after attending Peres's funeral at the national cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

"I deeply hope that the peace process, which has come to a standstill, will continue in order to find a solution for the two states, as well as for the security of Israel," she added.

The Croatian president said that Peres had been a person to learn from, that he had done a lot for the defence and security of his country, and that he had recognised the Palestinians' right to their own state. 

The funeral was attended by representatives of about 70 countries, including current and former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, current and former French presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, German President Joachim Gauck, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 

The Croatian delegation included Oscar-winning film producer and Holocaust survivor Branko Lustig.

Peres, the last of the generation of founders of Israel, died in a Tel Aviv hospital on Wednesday, two weeks after suffering a massive stroke. He was buried between former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Yitzhak Shamir.

Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac signed a book of condolence at the Israeli Embassy in Zagreb on Friday, describing Peres as a great world statesman and one of the chief architects of the Middle East peace process.

"Croatia, which he visited, will remember him as its friend," Kovac wrote.

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