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German president notes Gorbachev’s ‘landmark contribution’ to peace in Europe

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has congratulated the Soviet Union’s first president on his 90th birth anniversary

BERLIN, March 1. /TASS/. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has congratulated the Soviet Union’s first president, Mikhail Gorbachev, on his 90th birth anniversary and noted his "landmark contribution" to the cause of peace in Europe, as follows from a congratulatory telegram released by the presidential office on Monday.

"Germany will not forget you courageous endeavors in the name of peace and freedom. Thanks to your political decisions and confidence in reunified Germany, you made a landmark contribution to peaceful overcoming of the split on the European continent," the German president noted, adding that Germany’s reunification "was not something self-evident but is, but is the work of many."

"You are among those who make history," Steinmeier emphasized.

He recalled his latest meeting with Gorbachev some three years ago in Moscow and noted that it had been clear back then that Germany and Russia were far from materializing the hope for good neighborly and trust-based partnership in Europe.

"Since our latest meeting, nothing has improved in relations [between the two countries]. It is worrying many people, not only in Germany," he noted. In his words, it is especially important today not to tolerate widening gaps but, instead, keep on trying to understand each other and meet at all possible levels.

"We are living in a period of difficult relations but we have the past before it and a future ahead. On both sides, we bear responsibility for the future of peaceful Europe," the telegram reads.

Mikhail Gorbachev (born on March 2, 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician. He was the last secretary general of the USSR’s Communist Party Central Committee (1985-1991) and the first and only president of the former Soviet Union (1990-1991). He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.