"We must not kill the peace process," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told President Shimon Peres on Wednesday when he telephoned to express his condolences on the passing of the president's wife, Sonia Peres.

"We have to stand like a wall against those provocative forces that seek to delegitimize the Palestinian Authority and thereby derail the peace process. We have to stand together against such forces," said Abbas, as he called on Israel to join in a firm united front with the PA.

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Peres has received condolence visits, telephone calls, e-mails and faxes from leading personalities of various faiths and nationalities from all over the world since the death of his wife last Thursday.

It has been a very difficult time for him, not only because of his personal loss, but because in the weeks preceding his period of grief and mourning, he made a point of visiting the families of the 44 people who lost their lives in the Carmel fires.

In each case, he sat with the mourners, listened to stories about their loved ones, comforted mothers, wives and sisters as they wept and found common ground with male mourners to whom he spoke words of empathy and encouragement.

Peres was supposed to meet this week in Davos with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, but cancelled the trip due to the week-long mourning period.

Medvedev, despite this week's terrorist attack in Moscow's international airport, did go to Davos where he intended to woo investments in Russia's economy.

The tragic events of this week may put a blight on that effort.

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