Peres pledges to support Sharon in election

The veteran Israeli statesman Shimon Peres said Wednesday that he is leaving the centre-left Labour party and endorsed his former rival Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at March's general election.

"My period of service within the (Labour) party has come to an end," said the 82-year-old former prime minister who was ousted from the helm of Labour earlier this month.

"His (Sharon's) mind is set to continue the peace process and he is open to new ideas for peace. I support his election to seek these aims," he added at a Tel Aviv press conference.

&to=' target=_blank>Peres stopped short of announcing whether he would join Sharon's new centrist Kadima faction which the prime minister formed last week after announcing his own split from the right-wing Likud party.

The former Nobel peace prize winner said that he wanted to dedicate himself to the efforts to bring about peace with the Palestinians, informs Forbes.

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