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Remembering Hans-Dietrick Genscher

James A. Baker, III, released the following statement on the passing of former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrick Genscher, who is credited as being a major figure in paving the way for Germany's reunification:

"Freedom lost a great champion today with the passing of Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Germany, Europe and the world benefited tremendously from the dedication, work and passion of this outstanding statesman," Mr. Baker said. "The United States never had any better friend nor a more important partner in managing the peaceful end to the Cold War. Susan and I send his wife, Barbara, and his entire family our deepest sympathy and condolences. He was a wonderful friend and I shall miss him greatly."

Genscher served as Germany's foreign minister and as vice-chancellor from 1974 to 1992. He made headlines in 1989 when, while speaking from a balcony at the German Embassy in Prague, he told East Germans that they would be able to move freely to the West.