Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, one of the pioneer conservative leaders of the 20 Century, who was credited with reuniting Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, died at the age of 87 due to natural causes, Friday.
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin says former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl played a key role forming his outlook on the world.
Most importantly, Kohl presided over a dramatic period of peaceful change in which Communist-run East Germany - a principal victim of the lack of a post-second world war peace agreement and the consequent division of Germany - was merged expensively but bloodlessly with its powerful, unrequited neighbour, the Federal Republic, in 1990.
"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".
"He held fast to the dream and goal of a united Germany, even as others wavered", she said.
He was the politician for most of his adult life and he was the Chancellor of the West Germany from 1982 to 1990 and he served as Chancellor of reunified Germany from the year 1990 to 1998. After a fall in 2008 he suffered from impaired speech and used a wheelchair.
His great achievement was to supervise the reunification of Germany, and another of his political endeavors was the construction of a Europe of peace and prosperity, founded above all on Franco-German friendship.
On behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Germany and to the family and loved ones of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
Shortly after leaving office, Kohl's reputation was tarnished by a financing scandal in his centre-right CDU, now led by Merkel.
"Working closely with my very good friend to help achieve a peaceful end to the Cold War and the unification of Germany within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will remain one of the great joys of my life", he added in a statement.
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.
In Brussels, European flags were lowered to half-staff in tribute.
For his part, Mr Juncker said in a tweet: "Helmut's death hurts me deeply". "My mentor, my friend, the very essence of Europe, he will be greatly, greatly missed", he said.