The Latest: Merkel: Kohl was “right man at the right time”

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The Latest: Merkel: Kohl was “right man at the right time”
The Latest: Merkel: Kohl was “right man at the right time”

BERLIN (AP) – The latest on the death of former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, whose legacy includes putting a reunited Germany at the heart of Europe and helping create the continent’s common currency, the euro. (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Helmut Kohl was “the right man at the right time” when the winds of change began sweeping through Eastern Europe in the 1980s.

Merkel says Kohl understood that there was a “historic chance” to overcome Germany’s decades-long division and seized it.

Kohl, the physically imposing German chancellor who reunified a nation divided by the Cold War, died Friday at 87.

Speaking in Rome late Friday, Merkel said her predecessor’s skillful statesmanship won over Germany’s neighbors and ensured a peaceful reunification.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, said her own life had changed markedly because of Kohl’s actions, for which she was deeply grateful.

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7 p.m.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was “a great statesman, a great German politician and most of all, a great European.”

Gabriel said in a statement Friday that Kohl “did a lot not just to make German reunification happen, but also for European integration.”

Kohl, the physically imposing German chancellor whose reunification of a nation divided by the Cold War put Germany at the heart of a united Europe, died Friday at 87.

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5:48 p.m.

Helmut Kohl, the physically imposing German chancellor whose reunification of a nation divided by the Cold War put Germany at the heart of a united Europe, has died at 87.

Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union party posted on Twitter: “We are in sorrow. #RIP #HelmutKohl.”

The daily newspaper Bild reported that Kohl died Friday at his home in Ludwigshafen.

Over his 16 years at the country’s helm from 1982 to 1998 – first for West Germany and then for all of a united Germany – Kohl combined a dogged pursuit of European unity with a keen instinct for history. Less than a year after the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, he spearheaded the end of Germany’s decades-long division into East and West, ushering in a new era in European politics.

FILE- The Sept. 22, 1984 file photo shows then French President Francois Mitterrand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl standing hand-in-hand as they listen to their respective national anthems during a French-German reconciliation ceremony outside the Doaumont cemetery near Verdun. Verdun was the bloodiest battlefield in World War I. (AP Photo, file)
FILE – The June 10, 1984 file photo shows Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, second left, standing with, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, left, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, second right, and Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at London’s Buckingham Palace, prior to a dinner for summit leaders. (AP Photo, file)
FILE – The June 20, 1997 file photo shows President Clinton welcomes German Chancellor Helmut Kohl prior to a formal dinner for the leading dignitaries of the Summit of the Eight at the University of Denver’s Phipps House in Denver. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
FILE – The July 17, 1990 file photo shows Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, center,sitting with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, and German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher at a table in the garden of the guest house in Archiz during a break in their talks on the discussion of NATO-membership of United Germany, the most difficult topic in the negotiations to German unification. In the background are German government spokesman Hans Klein, West German Finance Minister Theo Waigel, sixth from left, Raissa Gorbacheva, Soviet Finance Minister Pavlov and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, third from right. The other persons are unidentified delegation members. (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil, file)
FILE – The June 8, 1998 file photo shows German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, guiding Russian President Boris Yeltsin through the park after Yeltsin’s arrival for talks at the Bonn Chancellery. (AP Photo/Fritz Reiss, file)
FILE – The Sept. 7, 1997 file photo shows East German leader Erich Honecker and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, as they review the guard of honor at the chancellery in Bonn, western Germany, during the first official state visit of a East German government head to West Germany. (AP Photo/Fritz Reiss, file)
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