Helmut Kohl, architect of post-Cold War German reunification, dies at 87

Helmut Kohl, architect of post-Cold War German reunification, dies at 87”

"Helmut Kohl was the most important European statesman since WWII", Bill Clinton, the former USA president, said in 2011, adding that Kohl answered the big questions of his time "correctly for Germany, correctly for Europe, correctly for the United States, correctly for the future of the world".

"I hope we have the same courage, patience and determination to address the challenges facing Europe as steadfastly as Helmut Kohl did", Juncker said in a statement. During a relatively uneventful first phase of his tenure as chancellor, Kohl built solid relationships with leaders of western states such as France and the United States, and also with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Kohl, who was Germany's longest-serving leader, was chancellor when the Berlin Wall fell 28 years ago.

"A great German has died", Gabriel said.

"For Germans, he was a stroke of luck".

The name of Helmut Kohl goes hand in glove with milestone events in the contemporary history of Germany, Putin noted.

A spokesman for Ms Merkel expressed her "deep sorrow over a great German and a great European".

Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to speak around 1700 GMT in Rome.

"Helmut Kohl was an important German, and an important European".

The new country was to be the heart of an enlarged European Union - a project he believed would ensure peace - and a staunch North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member.

He worked tirelessly for the reunification of West and East Germany, the countries separated in the ashes of World War II. The two leaders were marking the 70th anniversary of the start of World War I in Verdun. Many young people in rural eastern Germany say they are forced to move to the west or to larger eastern cities because of a lack of competitive wages and job opportunities.

"Europe can never sink into war again", he said.

These relationships became invaluable when East Germany began to unexpectedly collapse in 1989: Kohl was able to address concerns of global parties on all sides while also on the domestic intricacies of reunification. The party leaders hinted that Kohl's tenure was more productive than his successors Schröder and Merkel.

"He held fast to the dream and goal of a united Germany, even as others wavered", she said.

When he assumed the office of chancellor in 1982, he presided over West Germany, but by the time he was forced out of office 16 years later, Kohl led a reunified nation that was occupied with gradually overcoming the differences decades of separation had created.

Gerhard Schroeder, Kohl's successor as chancellor, called him a "great patriot and European ..."

"Even though we led a tough election battle in 1998 and differed on many political issues, I have the greatest respect for his historical efforts", Schröder said.

"As the first chancellor of a unified Germany since 1945 he was a giant of European history". The UN chief served as Portuguese Prime Minister between 1995 and 2002. "A true European", Stoltenberg tweeted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the German people and family of former chancellor Helmut Kohl after learning of the leader's death on Friday.

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