Prime minister Harper offers condolences following Ariel Sharon's death

Calls Sharon one of the architects of modern day Israel

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is offering condolences following the death of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

In a statement, Harper says Sharon was "a renowned military leader'' who "pursued the security of Israel with unyielding determination that was recognized by friends and foes alike.''

Harper says Sharon played a central role in the Israeli government for several years, changing the political landscape through his leadership and vision.

The PM calls Sharon "one of the architects of modern day Israel and one of the nation's staunchest defenders.''

Harper says Canada values its long-standing relationship with Israel, ``which is based on shared values, common interests and strong political, economic, cultural and social ties.''

Sharon died today at age 85, eight years after suffering a stroke that left him in a coma.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar issued a statement of condolence on behalf of the New Democrats.

"We join those marking the passage of Mr. Sharon, a significant figure in world history and an influential leader who dedicated his life to serving his country,'' Dewar said.

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