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German Top Diplomat Behind Reunification Dies at 89


FILE - Former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher is seen during an interview at his home in Wachtberg, Germany, Nov. 6, 2014.

FILE - Former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher is seen during an interview at his home in Wachtberg, Germany, Nov. 6, 2014.

Hans-Dietrich Genscher, a long-serving German diplomat at the forefront of the struggle to reunite East and West Germany, has died at the age of 89.

A personal assistant confirmed the death of the former German foreign minister who died at his home near Bonn, the former West German capital, late Thursday.

Genscher served as foreign minister of West Germany, and later of the unified Germany, for a record-setting 18 years ending in 1992. He was an advocate of consensus over confrontation and is credited with negotiating Germany's reunification and the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1990.

His counterparts in that negotiation were U.S. secretary of state James Baker and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

The eastern and western halves of Germany, divided since the end of the World War II, were reunited on October 3, 1990.

Genscher ended his service as foreign minister two years later, but remained active in the international community as recently as 2013, when he negotiated with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the release of Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky from prison.

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