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Israeli peace negotiator Uri Savir dies aged 69
15 May 2022, 09:24
He led an Israeli delegation to negotiate a series of interim agreements with the Palestinians in 1993 that became known as the Oslo Accords.
Uri Savir, a prominent Israeli peace negotiator and dogged believer in the need for a settlement with the Palestinians, has died aged 69.
Israeli media reports said he died on Friday, but no cause of death was given.
As director of the country’s foreign ministry, Mr Savir led an Israeli delegation to negotiate a series of interim agreements with the Palestinians in 1993 that became known as the Oslo Accords.
The accords created the Palestinian Authority and set up self-rule areas in the Palestinian territories.
It also produced broken promises, bouts of violence and two failed attempts to negotiate a final peace deal – after-effects that left its architects with a mixed legacy in both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Despite hopes for Palestinian statehood dimming since then, Mr Savir remained committed to the vision of a two-state solution until the end.
He often referred to himself as the region’s “last optimist” and stayed in touch with his old Palestinian counterparts.
He also founded a Facebook group, YaLa Young Leaders, that brought together young Israelis and Arabs from across the region for online discussions and courses about peace and co-existence. The group has more than 800,000 followers.
Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid said Mr Savir “strove for a different Middle East”.
He tweeted: “His contribution to Israel is tremendous and is felt to this day.”
Mr Savir was a close adviser to late former Israeli leader Shimon Peres, a driving force behind the peace negotiations, and he went on to help found and lead the Peres Centre for Peace and Innovation, which promotes co-operation between people in the Middle East.
Mr Savir also briefly served as a legislator in Israel’s parliament.