2014-01-11T160146Z_1_CBREA0A18JJ00_RTROPTP_2_USA-OBAMA-NEWSCONFERENCENEWSCONFERENCE

Obama honors Sharon's dedication to Israel, Biden to go to funeral

U.S. President Obama pauses during year-end news conference in the White House briefing room in WashingtonBy Steve Holland and Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Saturday lauded the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s dedication to the Jewish state and reaffirmed an “unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security as Vice President Joe Biden prepared to attend the funeral. Obama called Sharon – who died at age 85 on Saturday and had been in a coma for the entirety of Obama’s presidency – “a leader who dedicated his life to the state of Israel.” He said he sent his “deepest condolences” to Sharon’s family. The United States has long been a critical ally of Israel.

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