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IN BRIEF / ISRAEL

September 22, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

World Leaders Fete Peres on 80th Birthday

A parade of global figures -- from Bill Clinton to Mikhail S. Gorbachev -- gathered in Tel Aviv to mark the 80th birthday of Nobel Peace laureate and former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

The guest list reflected worldwide appreciation for Peres' efforts toward a "New Middle East" -- the title of his 1993 book -- and a longing for the days before the peace process collapsed in violence that has killed thousands in three years.

In his remarks, Peres appealed to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, seated in front, to make peace with the Palestinians, saying, "It is closer than you think."

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