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Obama will travel to Israel for Shimon Peres funeral

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israeli President Shimon Peres in the Oval Office of the White House, June 25, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/TNS

By GREG JAFFE | The Washington Post | Published: September 28, 2016

President Obama will attend the funeral of Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and driving force behind the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s, on Friday in Israel, according to Israel's Foreign Ministry.

Peres, 93, died after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. The visit will be Obama's second to Israel as president. Obama has had a stormy relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, breaking with the Israeli leader over the administration's agreement with Iran to roll back its nuclear program and Israeli settlements in territory claimed by the Palestinians.

But Obama and Peres have maintained a warm bond. In 2012 Obama presented Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a rare honor for a non-U.S. citizen. "The man, the life that we honor tonight is nothing short of extraordinary," Obama said at the ceremony.

On Tuesday, Obama praised Peres as one of the few people in the world who helped to "change the course of human history."

"I will always be grateful that I was able to call Shimon my friend," Obama said in statement. "A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever."

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