Former German Chancellor Kohl Receives Military Honours At Funeral

Political leaders across Europe and former US president Bill Clinton have paid tribute late German chancellor Helmut Kohl

Political leaders across Europe and former USA president Bill Clinton have paid tribute to late German chancellor Helmut Kohl at the European Parliament.

The idea for a ceremony was proposed by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, whom Kohl affectionately called "junior" when the Luxemburger became prime minister at the age of 41.

The former chancellor's coffin will be brought to the parliament chamber in the French city of Strasbourg where his successor, Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and former U.S. president Bill Clinton will give speeches. Though he was invited to speak, the premier declined, citing the ceremony's taking place during the Jewish Sabbath.

After the event at the European Parliament, he will be buried in the German town of Speyer later. He also walked from his hotel to the ceremony.

During his 16-year term as Germany's leader from 1982 to 1998, Kohl spearheaded his country's reunification in 1990 and was an architect of the continent's common currency, the euro.

"Helmut Kohl gave us the chance to be involved in something bigger than ourselves", said former U.S. President Bill Clinton, citing Kohl's willingness to put global cooperation before national interests at key moments in history.




And if it's been conducted with such a sense of ceremony it's because the new leaders of Europe - especially Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel - want to capture and distil something of Mr Kohl's spirit, which worked to such effect a quarter of a century ago.

Because of a long-running feud with his stepmother, who jealously guards her husband's political legacy, Walter Kohl had not had contact with his father for many years and said he learned of his death from a radio report. "Among the State of Israel's greatest friends, he was completely dedicated to its security". Angela Merkel was a minister in his government, recruited from her role as leader of the opposition in the former East German state as soon as the two countries were united.

"His sympathy for Israel and Zionism is reflected in my many meetings with him", Netanyahu continued, "and his position was always firmly in favor of Israel, which has been steadily present in Europe and in other global forums".

Walter Kohl has described the European Parliament commemoration as "unworthy" in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit.

Netanyahu will return to Israel on Sunday.

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