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Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences: "I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Excellency Shimon Peres, and I wish to convey to you and to all the people of Israel my heartfelt condolences. I fondly recall my time with Mr Peres at the Vatican and renew my great appreciation for the late Presidentâ??s tireless efforts in favour of peace. As the State of Israel mourns Mr Peres, I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples. In this way, his legacy will truly be honoured and the common good for which he so diligently laboured will find new expressions, as humanity strives to advance on the path towards enduring peace. With the assurance of my prayers for all who grieve, especially for the Peres family, I invoke the divine blessings of consolation and strength upon the nation.â? The respected elder statesman had been hospitalized a few days ago at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv after cerebral ischemia. Shimon Peres was a Nobel Peace laureate and a respected statesman and frequent participant at international conferences. The former Israeli president died on Wednesday, September 28, just two weeks after suffering a stroke. He was 93 years old.