Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter has paid a personal tribute to Shimon Peres, former Israeli president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who died on Wednesday at the age of 93.
“He was a personality both modest and impressive,” said Burkhalter in an interview with the Swiss News Agency. “He had a long-term vision and was an important political actor.”
Burkhalter said he met Peres during a visit to the Middle East in 2013. “It was a moment that has remained imprinted on my memory,” he said.
Instead of following the diplomatic protocol, the two politicians had a long and “deeply human discussion enriched with personal anecdotes”.
Burkhalter said Peres was very much aware of the concerns of the Israeli citizens and able to take a long-term political perspective.
During the meeting, the Nobel Peace Prize winner talked about getting old. “He didn’t complain or boast about it,” said Burkhalter.
He wanted to say that politicians should show respect for the process of time moving on, according to Burkhalter.
“Now the time has expired for Shimon Peres. But he will not be forgotten.”
swissinfo.ch with agencies