Prague - Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who died today after eight years in a coma, was "a great and courageous statesman who was not afraid to fight for the freedom of his nation," Czech President Milos Zeman said, being quoted by his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek.
Ovcacek told CTK that Zeman will sent his condolences to his Israeli counterpart.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout sent his condolences to the Israeli Foreign Ministry today.
Kohout writes in the letter of condolence that Sharon was a fearless fighter and real statesman. He recalls his courages steps taken to defend Israel and his contribution to opening a path that might lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Sharon died at the age of 85 in a Tel Aviv hospital. He was the prime minister from 2001 to 2006 when he fell into a coma since he suffered a massive stroke.
Former Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda who met him ten years ago said he considered Sharon one of the greatest personalities of Israel.
Probable future foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) shared this view.
Zaoralek said he did not expect Sharon´s death to have any influence on the Israeli political scene.
Sharon is to be buried on Monday in his countryside house in the Negev Desert.
Czech Government spokeswoman Jana Jaburkova told CTK that outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok and Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek will represent the Czech Republic at the funeral.