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Helmut Kohl, father of German reunification, dies at 87

20 June 2017
Helmut Kohl, father of German reunification, dies at 87

He died in Ludwigshafen, Germany, the Rhine port city.

With great sorrow the Head of State received the news regarding the death of the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. 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.

The Chinese government and people always treasure the friendship between the Chinese and German people, and are willing to work with the German side to create a better future for the China-Germany relations. Kohl decided this - without consultation with the Bundesbank, the hitherto all-powerful German central bank - in February 1990 in the helter-skelter aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall the previous November.

Kohl has been a part of both the divided Germany as well as the reunited Germany. Only Otto von Bismarck, who first unified Germany in the 1870s, was chancellor longer, for 19 years.

Described the "greatest European leader of the second half of the 20th century" by US Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Kohl struck up a close partnership with French President Francois Mitterand, which helped ease the way to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty setting up the European Union and the introduction of the euro.

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.

"Helmut Kohl's efforts brought about the two greatest achievements in German politics of recent decades - German reunification and European unity", she said. "His legacy will live on".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who served as Luxembourg's prime minister while Kohl was in office, tweeted: "Helmut's death hurts me deeply".