German leader Helmut Kohl, credited with reunifying country, dead at 87

Saturday 17 June, 2017

By Staff Reuters

In this March 5, 1984 file photo, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, meets with Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in Washington.

Bob Daugherty/AP

 

WATCH ABOVE: Helmut Kohl who served as Chancellor of Germany for 16 years has passed away at the age of 87.

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BERLIN – Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the architect of German reunification, died on Friday, the mass-selling newspaper Bild reported. He was 87.

Bild reported in its online edition that Kohl died in the morning in his home in Ludwigshafen, in western Germany.

“We mourn,” Kohl‘s Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) tweeted with a picture of the former chancellor.

Germany’s longest serving post-war chancellor from 1982 to 1998, Kohl was a driving force behind the introduction of the euro currency, convincing skeptical Germans to give up their cherished deutschemark.

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An imposing figure who formed a close relationship with French President Francois Mitterrand in pushing for closer European integration, Kohl had been frail and wheelchair-bound since suffering a bad fall in 2008.

At home, he is celebrated above all as the father of German reunification, which he achieved after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall despite resistance from partners such as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

In this March 5, 1984 file photo, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, meets with Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in Washington.In this March 5, 1984 file photo, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, meets with Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in Washington.

Bob Daugherty/AP

 

He won voters in communist East Germany by promising them “flourishing landscapes.”

Shortly after leaving office, Kohl‘s reputation was tarnished by a financing scandal in his center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), now led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Kohlmentored Merkel early in her career, appointing her to her first ministerial post.

Until his death, Kohl refused to identify the donors, saying he had given them his word.

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