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German president thanks Gorbachev for role in reunification

November 5, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 1987 file photo, East Germany's head of state Erich Honecker, right, smiles as he welcomes Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev upon his arrival at East Berlin's Schoenefeld airport. Gorbachev encouraged Honecker and other Communist leaders in Central and Eastern Europe to follow his lead in launching liberal reforms and took no action to shore up their regimes when they started to crumble under the pressure of pro-democracy forces. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 1987 file photo, East Germany's head of state Erich Honecker, right, smiles as he welcomes Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev upon his arrival at East Berlin's Schoenefeld airport. Gorbachev encouraged Honecker and other Communist leaders in Central and Eastern Europe to follow his lead in launching liberal reforms and took no action to shore up their regimes when they started to crumble under the pressure of pro-democracy forces. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 1987 file photo, East Germany's head of state Erich Honecker, right, smiles as he welcomes Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev upon his arrival at East Berlin's Schoenefeld airport. Gorbachev encouraged Honecker and other Communist leaders in Central and Eastern Europe to follow his lead in launching liberal reforms and took no action to shore up their regimes when they started to crumble under the pressure of pro-democracy forces. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper, File)
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FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 1987 file photo, East Germany's head of state Erich Honecker, right, smiles as he welcomes Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev upon his arrival at East Berlin's Schoenefeld airport. Gorbachev encouraged Honecker and other Communist leaders in Central and Eastern Europe to follow his lead in launching liberal reforms and took no action to shore up their regimes when they started to crumble under the pressure of pro-democracy forces. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper, File)
1 of 2
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 1987 file photo, East Germany's head of state Erich Honecker, right, smiles as he welcomes Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev upon his arrival at East Berlin's Schoenefeld airport. Gorbachev encouraged Honecker and other Communist leaders in Central and Eastern Europe to follow his lead in launching liberal reforms and took no action to shore up their regimes when they started to crumble under the pressure of pro-democracy forces. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper, File)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s president is thanking former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for his role in enabling his country’s reunification. He is lamenting the current state of European-Russian relations ahead of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In a letter to Gorbachev released by his office Tuesday, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wrote that Germany’s peaceful reunification and the end of Europe’s division “would not have been possible without the courageous and humane decisions that you personally made back then.”

Steinmeier acknowledged that not all the hopes of three decades ago have been fulfilled.

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He said that “what pains me the most is the state of German-Russian and European-Russian relations,” and added that it’s important “not to resign ourselves to the alienation that has grown over recent years.”

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Follow AP’s full coverage of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall at https://www.apnews.com/FalloftheBerlinWall