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European Leaders Praise Reagan for Cold War Victory - 2004-06-06

European leaders have praise and warm words for the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who died Saturday at the age of 93. Prime Minister Tony Blair said Mr. Reagan would be remembered as a good friend of Britain.

Margaret Thatcher, the British leader during the president's two terms of office and his ideological soul mate and close friend, called Ronald Reagan "a truly great American hero."

Mrs. Thatcher said Mr. Reagan had won the Cold War for liberty, and she added, he did it without a shot being fired.

Germany's president, Johannes Rau, called Mr. Reagan's 1987 speech in Berlin, when he urged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall, an unforgettable moment in history.

Elsewhere, Lech Walesa, whose Solidarity union led the struggle against communist rule in Poland, called the late president a modest person, who held a deep hatred for inequality.

The Polish-born Pope John Paul received news of the death while on a short trip to Switzerland. A spokesman said the pope praised Mr. Reagan for helping to bring down communism in Europe.

The pope learned of Mr. Reagan's condition two-days ago, when President Bush visited the Vatican. The pontiff sent a message of best wishes to former first lady Nancy Reagan.

In Normandy, where world leaders gathered for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings, French President Jacques Chirac summed up the sentiments of many when he said the late president will leave a profound mark on history.