Hollande pays tribute to Thatcher

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French President Francois Hollande said Monday that ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death "marks the disappearance of a great figure," while extended his "deepest and very sincere condolences" to Thatcher's family and close friends.

The French head of state said Thatcher was "a great figure who made a deep impression on her country's history during her 11 years as British Prime Minister."

"Throughout her public life, holding true to her firm conservative beliefs, she cared about the United Kingdom's influence and the defence of her country's interests," Hollande added in a statement.

He said Thatcher had always maintained a "frank and loyal" relationship with France. "She forged a constructive, fruitful dialogue with Francois Mitterrand. Together, they committed themselves to strengthening ties between our two countries," the French president recalled.

The French leader also expresses his solidarity with the British people.

Thatcher died of stroke at the age of 87, her office announced on Monday. She was a British Conservative Party politician and party leader who served as the British prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

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