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World Leaders Pay Tribute

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President Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat led the list of world leaders who expressed sorrow at the death of former Israeli Premier Golda Meir and praised her as a great leader of the State of Israel.

“The American people and I join the people of Israel in mourning the lass” of Mrs. Meir, Carter said. “Throughout one of the most remarkable careers of public leadership in this century, Golda Meir embodied the best in the Israeli spirit–courage and idealism; honest outspokenness and buoyant good human; strength and compassion, and a deep love for her land; proud determination and boundless energy and hard work; and a deep abiding commitment to peace.”

Noting that “I will always remember her warmth and graciousness when we met in Israel when she was Prime Minister in 1973, ” Carter said that Mrs. Meir “always understood that great global issues involve the hopes and fears of ordinary men and women, and people all over the world responded to her humanity.” He also noted that she “is among that heroic group of men and women, Israel’s pioneers, who dreamed of establishing a free and independent Jewish State–and who made that dream come true for millions of people in one of the great stories of human struggle and fulfillment of all time.”

Carter stressed that at her death, “it is fitting to note that the nation of Israel to which she dedicated her life is strong and free today. We pray that the second great dream of Golda Meir’s life, for which she worked and hoped and prayed all her life, will soon be realized–a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”


In his cable, which was sent to President Yitzhak Navon and Mrs. Meir’s family, Sadat declared: “As we pursue efforts to achieve an overall and lasting peace for the peoples of the region, I credit her for her undeniable role in the process of peace, when she signed with us the first disengagement accord. She always proved herself as a first-class political leader worthy of holding in your history a position commensurate with the position she had held in your leadership.”

Sadat, who was one of the first world leaders to send a cable of condolence to Israel, and who had often said he wished he could have conducted the peace negotiations with Mrs. Meir, said that “for the sake of history ” he wanted to note that Mrs. Meir was “an honest adversary in the circumstances of confrontation between us–which we all hope has ended forever.”

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who arrived in Cairo today, said in a statement before his departure from Washington Friday, that “Americans join with Israelis–with Jews everywhere–and with all who care for the human spirit, in mourning” Mrs. Meir. “Let us at this moment rededicate ourselves to help bring true peace to the Middle East–the goal for which Mrs. Meir so valiantly and tirelessly sought.”

Vance’s predecessor, Henry Kissinger, said, “I grieve deeply for the passing of an extraordinary human being. The world will be lonelier without her. Golda Meir’s life represented not only the history of an individual but the destiny of a people. It was marked by the faith and idealism that made ordinary men and women fulfill an historic vision in a barren land.”

Former President Nixon said the “most fitting monument” for Mrs. Meir would be a Mideast peace. AFL-CIO President George Meany said she was “American labor’s warm friend and we respected and admirer her.” Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York said, “I join with men and women of all nations of all the world in expressing gratitude for the countless contributions of this renowned woman and am praying that she will know the peace that was her life’s quest.” UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim said her “stem devotion to her duty was combined with warm human qualities.”

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