On the Passing of Helmut Kohl

Helmut Kohl

Kohl, a pioneer of the united European vision

"When a new spirit began to sweep through Eastern Europe in the 1980s, when freedom was won in Poland, when fearless people in Leipzig, East Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany staged a peaceful revolution, Helmut Kohl was the right person at the right time", said Merkel. Among the State of Israel's greatest friends, he was completely dedicated to its security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin credited Kohl with "playing a key role in putting an end to the Cold War and with the reunification of Germany". His admiration for Israel and Zionism found expression in my many meetings with him and in his resolute stand in favor of Israel, which he constantly presented in Europe and in global forums.

"Chancellor Kohl, that great statesman and convinced European, worked with far-sightedness and dedication for the good of the German people and those in neighboring European countries".

At home, Kohl is celebrated above all as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. He served longer than Konrad Adenauer, West Germany's first post-World War II chancellor and his political idol.

Kohl headed the West German government for eight years between 1982 and 1990, then was Chancellor of united Germany between 1990 and 1998. He was previously married to Hannelore Renner in 1960, who committed suicide due to an unbearable medical condition.

Kohl lobbied heavily for the introduction of Euro, which was implemented in 1999 and went on to become a currency that now unites 19 countries in Europe, BBC reported. He is the longest serving Chancellor of his country Germany. "In this moment, I am thinking with great respect and great gratitude on that life and work".

For his part, Mr Juncker said in a tweet: "Helmut's death hurts me deeply".

"Preparations are already underway", Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told AFP.

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