SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong have written condolence letters over the death of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Kohl's widow, Mrs Maike Kohl-Richter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday (June 18).
Mr Kohl, the architect of German reunification, died on Friday. He was 87.
In his letter to Dr Merkel, PM Lee said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Mr Kohl's passing, describing him as "one of the greatest statesmen in his time".
"He was a true champion of integration. He reunited East and West Germany after the Berlin Wall fell. He was also the architect of the Maastricht Treaty which established the European Union," Mr Lee wrote.
"He was also a good friend of Singapore, and contributed greatly to the close bilateral ties we enjoy today," Mr Lee added.
Writing to Mr Kohl's widow, Mr Goh said he was saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Kohl, adding that he had always respected Mr Kohl "as a fellow Head of Government and a friend".
He said that the two had met several times when they were in office.
"I had visited him in Germany, as well as hosted his visit to Singapore in November 1995. In June 1997, Helmut and I launched the Global Initiative on Sustainable Development in New York, together with the leaders of Brazil and South Africa. We also participated in several ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summits and held bilateral meetings on their sidelines," he said.
Mr Goh said they shared warm personal ties, while Singapore and Germany enjoyed strong bilateral relations.
"Helmut's passing is a loss for all of us. I will always cherish our friendship and memories," Mr Goh added.