PARIS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday mourned the passing of "Israel's most illustrious statesmen" Shimon Peres and paid tribute to him as an ardent defender of peace.
In a statement released by his office, Hollande said Peres was: "A visionary, he impressed his interlocutors by his ability to propose bold initiatives and new ideas to get to this ideal. He believed in sharing resources, technology, and the opening of communication channels for bringing people together".
Hollande called Peres a "man of peace" who defended the creation of a Palestinian state which he considered the only guarantee for Israel's security.
"I express, on this sad day, my sympathy to the Israeli people and my condolences to his (Peres) family," the French president said.
In a separate statement, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault paid tribute to a man who "made history" via his culture of peace.
Peres, 93, died on Wednesday after suffering a major stroke more than two weeks ago.
During his nearly 70-year political career, he twice served as Israel's prime minister. He also served as foreign minister, defense minister, finance minister, chairman of the Labor Party, and leader of the opposition in the parliament.
In 1994, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the late former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for reaching an interim peace deal in 1993 which remained elusive.
Hollande will attend Peres' state funeral scheduled for Sept. 30.