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Biden to lead US delegation to memorial service

Saturday - 1/11/2014, 3:40pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is remembering former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a leader who dedicated his life to his country.

The Israeli soldier-turned-politician-turned statesman died today at age 85, eight years after a stroke put him in a coma.

In a statement, Obama reaffirmed what he called America's commitment to Israel's security and its appreciation for the friendship between the two countries and their people.

Vice President Joe Biden will lead a U.S. delegation to the memorial service.

Biden says he looks forward to paying his respects to the man and paying tribute to "the unshakeable partnership between the United States and Israel."

Former President George W. Bush calls Sharon a friend, a "man of courage."

Former President Bill Clinton says "it was an honor to work with him, argue with him, and watch him always trying to find the right path for his beloved country."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Israel "has lost one of its greatest sons and America a friend."

Secretary of State John Kerry calls Sharon a "big bear of a man" who's finally at rest.


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