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France sends Sharon wishes for recovery, says peace efforts should continue
Updated: 2006-01-05 17:12

French President Jacques Chirac sent get-well wishes to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon following his massive stroke and said Thursday that the ailing leader's "courageous" peace efforts must continue.

Chirac "hopes the Israeli prime minister will overcome the painful trial he is going through," the president's office said in a statement. France also offered full support and friendship to Ehud Olmert, Sharon's deputy who is acting as premier in his place, the statement added.

The French president also said he hoped "the courageous initiatives that Mr. Sharon embarked on _ which were praised by the entire international community _ will continue." France has repeatedly praised Sharon for changing tack and withdrawing from the Gaza Strip last year.

Sharon was in serious condition early Thursday following seven hours of emergency surgery to stop massive bleeding in his brain.

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