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MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has expressed condolences to the family of former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher who died on Friday.
"My sincere condolences to Barbara Genscher, his entire family, his friends and near and dear ones," says Gorbachev’s condolence note obtained by TASS.
"The death of Hans-Dietrich Genscher is a great loss for the people of Germany, for Europe, for all of us. A world-class politician, outstanding statesman, one of those who put an end to the Cold War by their joint efforts has passed away," Gorbachev noted.
He called Genscher "a remarkable personality." "In 1972, Genscher offered himself as a hostage instead of Israeli athletes captured by terrorists during the Munich Olympics. Later he repeatedly acted decisively and boldly as well," Gorbachev wrote.
According to the former Soviet leader, "Genscher was perhaps the first Western politician who urged to take seriously the policy of restructuring (perestroika) launched in the Soviet Union." "He was heavily criticized, accused of blind confidence. But Genscher held his ground. When the Cold War came to an end and the reunification of Germany took place, his critics had to admit that he was right," Gorbachev noted.
In recent years, the former Soviet president met with Genscher on numerous occasions and talked to him over the phone. "My last telephone conversation with Hans-Dietrich took place a few weeks ago, and on March 2 I received congratulations on my 85th birthday from him and Barbara," Mikhail Gorbachev wrote calling Genscher a true friend.
Patriarch of German diplomacy Hans-Dietrich Genscher passed away overnight on Friday at the age of 89 of cardiovascular collapse. He served as German foreign minister for 18 years (from 1974 to 1992) and played a prominent role in the talks on the reunification of Germany.
Genscher was always committed to the rapprochement between the East and the West. The concept of "Genscherism" that was a synonym of Germany’s own political doctrine during the Cold War era is associated with his name.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher was a "man of the era" and a heavyweight of world diplomacy, Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Friday.
"It is sad news. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a "man of the era" and a heavyweight of world diplomacy, has died," Kosachev, the head of the Russian Federation Council (parliament’s upper house) wrote on his page in Facebook.
"There is no need to enumerate all the merits and regalia of this coryphaeus of German, European and world diplomacy," Kosachev said. He also posted an extract from one of Genscher’s last interviews, which he believes to be the German diplomat’s political behest to modern politicians, on his page in Facebook.
In the extract, Genscher spoke of how it became possible to end the Cold War and what role the Europeans played in that process.
"It is necessary to start talking to each other again so that everybody could honestly say what we wanted after the Cold War was over. Did we want to extend Europe’s borders to the East or did we want to put an end to Europe’s division? It was the second thing that we wanted. To do that, people of good will should appear from both sides," Kosachev quoted the late German diplomat as saying.