File Photo: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (Reuters)
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres late on Tuesday expressed his sadness over the death of Palestinian veteran negotiator Saeb Erekat.
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Saeb Erekat, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General and Chief Negotiator for Palestinians in the Middle East Peace Process," the UN chief said in a statement attributable to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
"On behalf of the United Nations, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Erekat's family, President (Mahmoud) Abbas, the people of Palestine and his many friends and supporters around the world," the statement said.
Erekat died Tuesday at 65 after contracting COVID-19, Abbas's Fatah Movement said in a press statement.
He died while receiving treatment at the Israeli Hadassah Hospital, where he had been treated for about three weeks, after suffering health complications due to his infection with COVID-19, the statement said.
The senior Palestinian official contracted the coronavirus last month. As his condition deteriorated, he was transferred from his West Bank hometown of Jericho to the Israeli hospital in mid-October.