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Montevideo, October 3rd 2023 - 01:48 UTC



World leaders praise Gorbachev for making the world safer and giving freedom to millions

Thursday, September 1st 2022 - 14:00 UTC
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Gorbachev, ex German chancellor Helmut Kohl and former US president George Bush Gorbachev, ex German chancellor Helmut Kohl and former US president George Bush

United States, United Kingdom, Germany, UN, EU, France, paid homage to the former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91. Praise flowed to the memory of the man who helped achieve a peaceful end to the almost half century Cold War.

US President Joe Biden said that “Mikhail Gorbachev was a man of remarkable vision.” He added “as leader of the USSR, he worked with President Reagan to reduce our two countries' nuclear arsenals ... After decades of brutal political repression, he embraced democratic reforms.”

“The result was a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people.”

James Baker III, who was US Secretary of State during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, called Gorbachev a “giant who steered his great nation towards democracy.”

“He played the critical role in a peaceful conclusion of the Cold War by his decision against using force to hold the empire together ... The free world misses him greatly,” Baker said.

The Reagan Foundation and Institute said that it “mourns the loss of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who once was a political adversary of Ronald Reagan's who ended up becoming a friend,” referring to tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States at the end of the Cold War.

Boris Johnson

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gorbachev family and the people of Russia.”

“I always admired the courage and integrity he showed in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion ... In a time of Putin's aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Gorbachev was “one of the great figures” of last century who will “forever be remembered”. In a tweet, he said: “One of the great figures of the 20th Century, Mikhail Gorbachev’s pursuit of reform forged a path for diplomacy over conflict. He will forever be remembered as the last leader of the Soviet Union who had the courage and conviction to end the Cold War.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, a one-of-a kind statesman who changed the course of history.”

“He did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War. The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace,” the UN chief said.

French president Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences and called Gorbachev “a man of peace.” He went on to say that the late statesman “opened up a path of liberty for Russians.”

“[Gorbachev's] commitment to peace in Europe changed our shared history,” France's president said.

“Mikhail Gorbachev was a trusted and respected leader. He played a crucial role to end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain. It opened the way for a free Europe ... This legacy is one we will not forget,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

From Moscow, president Vladimir Putin said “”Mikhail Gorbachev was a politician and statesman who had a huge impact on the course of world history“.

”He led our country during a period of complex, dramatic changes, and large-scale foreign policy, economic and societal challenges. He deeply understood that reforms were necessary, and sought to offer his own solutions to pressing issues.“

German president 'bows to the great statesman'

”I bow to the great statesman,“ German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a letter to Gorbachev's daughter, Irina Virganskaya.

”Germany remains connected to him, in gratitude for his decisive contribution to German unity, in respect for his courage in democratic opening and building bridges between East and West, and in memory of his great vision of a peaceful Common European Home,“ Germany's president said.

Steinmeier said that Gorbachev had in recent years ”suffered from the fact that his dream was ever more distant.“ This dream was ”destroyed by Russia's brutal attack on Ukraine,“ he said'

Reunification of Germany

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised Gorbachev as a ”courageous reformer.“

Scholz said that the former Soviet leader's policies made it possible for Germany to be reunited in 1990 and for the Iron Curtain to disappear.

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Gorbachev a ”unique global politician.“

”Gorbachev wrote world history — he exemplified how a single statesman can change the world for the better,“ Merkel said on her website.
China said Gorbachev ”made positive contributions to the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations.”

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