'Unifier of Germany' Helmut Kohl passes away at 87

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev underlined Kohl s role in ending the Cold War, noting that "he was without doubt an exceptional personality who left his mark on German, European and global history".

Shortly after leaving office, Kohl's reputation was tarnished by a financing scandal in his center-right CDU, now led by Merkel.

For foreigners, the bulky conservative with a fondness for heavy local food and white wine came to symbolize a benign, steady - even tiresome - Germany.

Together with his French ally President Francois Mitterrand, he was responsible for the introduction of the euro.

Kohl was the chancellor of then West Germany between 1982 and 1990 and the reunified Germany between 1990 and 1998.

The head of the International Monetary Fund is expressing sadness at the death of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

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Kohl, who also played a central role in the Treaty of Maastricht, had repeatedly stressed that Germany and Europe are "two faces of the same coin", the cardinal said. Far from focusing on his achievements as one of Europe's most towering statesmen, critics raked over the hidden inner workings of his private life.

Kohl took power in 1982, leading West Germany into a new era which would result in the reunification of East and West Germany.

Kohl was born in Ludwigshafen on April 3, 1930. Kohl was the "pioneer of the united Germany and the Franco-German friendship", as France's President Emmanuel Macron said in German on Twitter. His elder brother, Walter, also volunteered and was killed in action in 1944.

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and French president François Mitterand were strongly opposed to facilitating a quick move to German unity.

He also chaired the Christian Democratic Union of Germany for many years.

He easily won the 1990 federal elections amid the euphoria but had a reduced majority in 1994.

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"Kohl was the leader who united Germany with a determined and steady hand". Still, he slowly edged his country toward greater responsibilities in the 1990s, as Germany sent troops for United Nations humanitarian missions in Cambodia, Somalia and elsewhere, and deployed peacekeepers to Bosnia. "His legacy will live on", Trump said in a White House statement.

Kohl's earlier bridge-building with the USA also paid off.

His merit in the development of Georgia-German relationship is huge. The party leaders hinted that Kohl's tenure was more productive than his successors Gerhard Schröder and Merkel.

"When the Berlin Wall fell, he rose to the occasion".

"For me, that says everything", he said. "That's how you see it!'" he wrote. Verdun was the bloodiest battlefield in World War I.

Kohl succeeded in "taking into account the interests of others and overcoming general mistrust to achieve mutual trust", the former Soviet leader said.

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