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World leaders pay tribute to German unifier Helmut Kohl

World leaders pay tribute to German unifier Helmut Kohl

Mr Kohl, who died aged 87 on 16 June, was remembered as both a German and European patriot, who deserved a place of honour in the European pantheon. Europe owes him a lot, ' said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the only current leader in Europe to have worked alongside him.

Leaders including Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and Angela Merkel joined mourners at in Strasbourg to pay hommage to Kohl, widely dubbed the "father of German unification".

He skillfully negotiated the dissolution communist East Germany with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and relocated the capital to Berlin.

His successor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Kohl's vision and persistence had paid a historic dividend.

According to the report, Israel will receive three more Dolphin submarines in a $1.5 billion deal with German shipmaker ThyssenKrupp.

The two-hour memorial, in a city that has often changed hands and now lies in France symbolized the role Kohl played in reconciling the two erstwhile enemies France and Germany while driving European integration forward.

Kohl's friendship with French President Francois Mitterrand helped pave the way for the European Union, its expansion to the east and the birth of the euro.

"I could tell you stories as well", she said. With Helmut Kohl, a postwar giant leaves us. "But all that paled in comparison to his life's achievements".

She also offered personal thanks for the opportunities that Mr Kohl - her political mentor whom she later denounced over a funding scandal - had given her in her career.

Junker said the ceremony at the European Parliament's seat in the French city of Strasbourg, close to the border with Germany, was the choice of Kohl himself.

The ceremony concluded with the German national anthem and excerpts from Beethoven's 9th symphony "Ode to Joy", used as the anthem of the European Union.

Serving as chancellor from 1982 to 1998, Kohl was also an architect of the expansion of the EU.

Following Saturday's ceremony in Strasbourg, Kohl's coffin was transported by helicopter to Germany and then taken down the Rhine river to Speyer, with thousands of people lining the roads and riverbanks to bid their farewell.

That decision has been criticised by Walter Kohl, Mr Kohl's son by his first wife, who wanted a farewell ceremony near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, near the site of the former Berlin Wall.

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