Thatcher one of the most 'outstanding leaders': Merkel

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed sadness on learning the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday, calling her one of the most "outstanding leaders" of the world politics of her time.

In a public condolence message, Merkel highly praised the pivotal role Thatcher had played in overcoming Europe's Cold War division, saying her contributions to shaping of modern Britain were unprecedented.

"I will never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War," she said.

"Margaret Thatcher has demonstrated by herself what a female politician like her could claim in the highest rank of the democratic office, particularly in the days when woman's participation in politics was still not taken for granted," Merkel said.

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