20 June, 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute to her mentor Helmut Kohl as a great German and European.
Chancellor Kohl was a friend to the United States during a transformative period for Germany and Europe as a whole.
A photograph showing Kohl holding hands with French president François Mitterrand at the Douaumont cemetery in Verdun became the defining symbol of Franco-German conciliation after decades of bloody conflict between the two countries.
Kohl left active politics in 2002.
He served as German Chancellor from 1982 to 1998 and presided over the end of the Cold War.
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"The longest serving Chancellor in modern German history, Chancellor Kohl was a friend and ally to the United States as he led the Federal Republic of Germany through sixteen pivotal years", President Donald Trump said in a statement, The Hill reported.
Kohl was born in Ludwigshafen, Germany in April 1930.
Kohl was married for 41 years to Hannelore Renner, an interpreter of English and French who stood firmly but discreetly by his side. "He was not only the father of German reunification, but also an advocate for Europe and the transatlantic relationship". Often harsh and thin-skinned, Kohl also could display a quick wit and jovial earthiness.
"When a new spirit began to stir in eastern Europe in the 1980s, when, starting in Poland freedom was seized, when courageous people in Leipzig, East Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany began a peaceful revolution, then Helmut Kohl was the right man at the right time", added Merkel, wearing black. "He never accepted the division of our country, but managed to launch its reunification with force and resolution". Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush have praised Kohl, calling him "the greatest European leader of the second half of the 20th century".
For his part, Juncker said in a tweet: "Helmut's death hurts me deeply".