Peres hails predecessor, peace in farewell talk

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JERUSALEM — Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres bade farewell this week to his Cabinet, praising the government for bringing about "revolutionary achievements."

Peres also hailed his slain predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin, as a man who gave his life for peace.

"This government was created by Yitzhak Rabin, who paid with his life for his opinions," Peres said Sunday.

"He, too, was sacrificed only for embarking upon a new path," added the outgoing prime minister.

He said the government formed after last November's assassination continued in the path of Rabin.

"This was an excellent, just and responsible government which presided over a historic chapter of the Jewish people," Peres said.

"Thank God that we no longer rule over" another people.

Under the government formed by Rabin, Israel signed self-rule agreements with the Palestinians and a peace treaty with Jordan.

It also established low-level ties with Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Qatar and Oman.

Peres also pointed to the economic benefits of the peace process, such as record levels of foreign investment and tourism.