Helmut Kohl dies: Tributes from around the world

Helmut Kohl in front of a German flag Image copyright EPA
Image caption Kohl was the chancellor who oversaw the reunification of Germany

"One of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe," was George H W Bush's tribute to former German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, who has died aged 87.

Many tributes focus on his role as the architect of German reunification after the Cold War and his role in bringing about the euro currency.

Speaking in Rome, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the announcement of Kohl's death was "one of those pieces of news that makes us all fall still because we feel that the life that has ended is going into history".

She said his actions in reunifying the country had personally impacted her life, allowing her to "enter into a life of freedom".

Ms Merkel grew up in communist East Germany. When she turned her attention to politics and her party, the Christian Democrats, Kohl became a close mentor to her.

Her thoughts were first of all with Kohl's wife, Maike, she said, adding that she had offered her condolences on the phone.

Kohl was trusted "from Washington to Moscow, from Paris to Warsaw" she said, and was "the right man at the right time", who "held tight to the dream of a reunited Germany and a unified Europe, even as others gave it up".

"For Germans, he was a stroke of luck. It will be a while before we will truly be able to measure what we have lost with his passing," she said, before concluding: "I bow before his memory".

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Helmut Kohl was an "outstanding" leader who had "warned the West against disregarding Russia's interests".

Mr Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union. Kohl persuaded him to withdraw from East Germany.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said: "A really great German has died."

Kohl was a "great statesman", a "great German politician" and a "great European", he said.

He credited him with working for German reunification and European unity and growth, and said his thoughts were with Kohl's family.

Mrs Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweeted: "In deep mourning for a great German and a great European."

Image copyright @RegSprecher

Kohl's party, the Christian Democrats, tweeted his image with the words "We are mourning".

Image copyright @CDU

In his statement, George H W Bush, who served as US president from 1989 to 1993, was full of praise for a man he worked with closely.

"Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true friend of freedom, and the man I consider one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe," he wrote.

"Helmut Kohl came of age as an uncertain Germany rose from the ashes of war. Like so many who bore witness to the unspeakable depravity and hardships of that time, Helmut hated war - but he detested totalitarianism even more.

"And so he would devote his public life to strengthening the institutions of democracy in his homeland, and beyond. Working closely with my very good friend to help achieve a peaceful end to the Cold War and the unification of Germany within Nato will remain one of the great joys of my life.

"Throughout our endeavours, Helmut was a rock - both steady and strong. We mourn his loss today, even as we know his remarkable life will inspire future generations of leaders to dare and achieve greatly."

Nato Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that Kohl "rose to the occasion" when the Berlin Wall fell.

Image copyright @jensstoltenberg

French President Emmanuel Macron called Kohl an architect of French-German friendship.

Image copyright @EmanuelMacron
Image caption "An architect of German reunification and of French-German friendship: In Helmut Kohl we have lost a great European"

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: "Helmut's death hurts me deeply. My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed."

Mr Juncker was the prime minister of Luxembourg during some of Kohl's time as chancellor of Germany.

Ross Douthat of the New York Times reflected on the waning of an era.

Image copyright @DouthatNYT

Alexander Kudascheff, former editorial director at German media outlet Deutsche Welle, wrote in an opinion article that Kohl "demonstrated political, even historic instincts, at exactly the right moment".

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