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U.S. President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney chat at a G7 leaders' summit on June 20, 1988.

Hans Deryk

The world today has lost one of its giants. Margaret Thatcher was the most transformative leader of her country since Churchill. She played a crucial role in the successful navigation of the end of the Cold War and the launch of a new era.

Mila and I share with her family and friends around the world deep sadness at her passing. Margaret was an inspiration to a generation of leaders around the world, with her courage, her conviction and her ability to stand up to dictatorship and to lead her country in war. The Britain she took charge of in 1979 was a country burdened with illness, social and economic. By the time of her departure more than a decade later Britain was a confident winner again.

I was privileged to work with Margaret, with Ronald Reagan and with Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand as we attempted to persuade first European colleagues and then the world that the death of the Soviet Union meant an entirely new set of relationships in the world. Those leaders found the path to a new future for Germany, for Europe and for the world. It was an achievement in which Margaret was a driving force.

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Like every great leader, with strong convictions and a bold vision, she made enemies. Some Canadians were unconvinced by her approach. But in a series of visits to Canada she won many friends here. By her final visit in 1988 she was recognized as the founder of modern Conservatism, a leader who had dragged her country from the brink of economic and social crisis, and a beacon of strong principled leadership to the world.

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