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April 08, 2013

Tributes to Margaret Thatcher Pour In

by VOA News

Reaction to the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is coming in from around the world.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement, "The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty."

European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso recalled her contributions to a more stable Europe.

"She was without doubt a great stateswoman, the first female prime minister of her country, and a circumspect yet engaged player in the European Union. She will be remembered both for her contributions and her reserves to our common project," said Barroso.

Former French president Valerie Giscard d'Estaing remembered Thatcher as a leader who always put her country first.
 
"She was not interested in the structure of the system, not very much in the future of the system, she was interested in the position of Britain in Europe and she protected it as best as she could," said d'Estaing.

Israeli President Shimon Peres called her exceptional. "I had the highest regard and admiration for the way she combined leaders and ideas to create a new situation."  

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world will miss her great leadership, calling her a "pioneer" for her contributions to peace and security during the height of the cold war. He also praised Thatcher for giving great hope to women for gender equality in politics.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said Thatcher was a "great politician" whose words "carried great weight." The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who held frequent meetings with Thatcher at the end of the Cold War, called her death "sad news."

Other world leaders also are offering praise, including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who said today's leaders would do well to learn from her.

"Her unbreakable commitment to freedom, democracy and the state of law, as well as her firm reformist determination, are an invaluable legacy for European current leaders who, just like it happened in the 80's when Margaret Thatcher ruled, face now very complex challenges that require big doses of political ambition and courage," said Rajoy.