Peres condition stable after stroke: Doctor

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks to the media during a news conference on July 6, 2014.
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres speaks to the media during a news conference on July 6, 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Former Israeli president and Nobel laureate Shimon Peres remained stable Saturday (Sept 17), four days after a major stroke, his doctor said.

The 93-year-old remained sedated and on a respirator after suffering a stroke and internal bleeding on Tuesday, Peres's personal physician and son-in-law Rafi Walden told AFP.

His condition has improved since, but is still described as serious but stable.

Israeli public radio said on Saturday morning that Peres "had a quiet night" but his life remained in danger.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is scheduled to visit him in his hospital near Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, after the end of the Jewish sabbath, Rivlin's office said.

Peres has held nearly every major office in Israel, serving twice as prime minister. He was president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.

He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo Accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.

The former hawk turned dove is widely respected both in Israel and abroad, regularly meeting world leaders and celebrities.

Pope Francis wrote to Peres Thursday saying he had "prayed for strength for the family and for a full recovery."

The letter said the Pope held a special prayer for Peres alongside Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Argentina.

Peres and the Pope last met two months ago when Peres visited the Vatican, while in 2014 they made a joint prayer for peace alongside Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also wrote to wish Peres a "swift recovery." "You are among the last of a generation of leaders who fought for the right of the Jewish people to shape their own destiny," Trump wrote.

Trump's Democrat rival Hillary Clinton, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin have also enquired about his condition.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon told the Security Council Thursday he was hoping for a "swift and full recovery," calling Peres "tireless in seeking peace between Israelis and Palestinians." He said that unfortunately, 23 years after the first Oslo Accord, "we are further than ever from its goals."