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Klaus Kinkel

German statesman

Died when: 82 years 77 days (986 months)
Star Sign: Sagittarius


Klaus Kinkel

Klaus Kinkel (17 December 1936 – 4 March 2019) was a German statesman, civil servant, diplomat and lawyer who served as the minister of Foreign affairs (1992–1998) and the vice-chancellor of Germany (1993–1998) in the government of Helmut Kohl.

Kinkel was a career civil servant and a longtime aide to Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and served as his personal secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior from 1970 and in senior roles in the Foreign Office from 1974.

He was President of Federal Intelligence Service from 1979 to 1982 and a state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Justice from 1982 to 1991.

In 1991 he was appointed as the Federal Minister of Justice and joined the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) shortly after.

In 1992 he became Foreign Minister, and in 1993 he also became the Vice Chancellor of Germany and the leader of the Free Democratic Party.

He left the government in 1998 following its electoral defeat.Kinkel was a member of the Bundestag from 1994 to 2002, and was later active as a lawyer and philanthropist.

During his brief tenure as Minister of Justice he pressed for the extradition and criminal prosecution of deposed East German dictator Erich Honecker and sought to end the left-wing terrorism of the Red Army Faction.

As Foreign Minister he is regarded as one of the most influential European politicians of the 1990s.He personified an "assertive foreign policy", increased Germany's peacekeeping engagements overseas, was at the forefront among Western leaders of building a relationship with Boris Yeltsin's newly democratic Russian Federation and pressed for Germany to be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

He also championed the Maastricht Treaty, the merging of the Western European Union with the EU to give the EU an independent military capability and the expansion of the EU.

Kinkel played a central role in the efforts to resolve the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, and proposed the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

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