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Helmut Kohl Swiss president pays tribute to former German chancellor

Kohl shakes hands with Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey in 2007 before receiving the gold medal of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe 

(Keystone)

Swiss President Doris Leuthard has joined politicians from around the world in paying tribute to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has died at the age of 87.

“He was a great statesman and a visionary politician who marked our continent for decades,” Leuthard said in a statement on Friday.

She added Kohl would always be remembered as the architect of Germany’s reunification and for his European policy stance.

Kohl, an imposing figure and German chancellor between 1982 and 1998, formed a close relationship with French President François Mitterrand in pushing for closer European integration.

Kohl in Switzerland

He visited Switzerland several times as head of the German government.

In 1989, he paid an official visit to the Swiss capital, Bern, and met Mitterrand in the city of Basel later that year. Another official visit to the Swiss capital followed in 1993.

The Lausanne-based Jean Monnet Foundationexternal link awarded him a gold medal in 2007, recognising his efforts for Europe.

Kohl was also a guest at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on several occasions.

Swiss banks were involved in a financing scandal of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) that tarnished Kohl’s reputation shortly after leaving office. It was discovered that the party had set up bank accounts in Switzerland to hide the identity of party donors.


swissinfo.ch with agencies/urs


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