15:13 GMT18 January 2021
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    Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing passed away on Wednesday, following complications caused by COVID-19, according to his family. He became the longest-living French president in history at the time of his death aged 94 years and 301 days.

    World leaders, heads of governments, and states are paying their respects to ex-president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, expressing their condolences to his family and the people of France.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement that d'Estaing was one of the main European politicians, stressing that the late president made a significant contribution to the dialogue between Paris and Moscow.

    Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing poses in his office at his Paris home during an interview with Reuters, France, December 6, 2011
    © REUTERS / Benoit Tessier
    Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing poses in his office at his Paris home during an interview with Reuters, France, December 6, 2011
    "Please accept our deepest sympathies regarding the passing of former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. Many important events in the latest history of France are linked to the name of this outstanding person, and he was rightly considered a great figure in the European politics", Putin's message to Emmanuel Macron said.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel also offered her condolences, saying that he was a friend of her country and "a great European".

    "In Valery Giscard d'Estaing, France had a statesman and Germany a friend, and we have all lost a great European", she said, in a tweet posted by her spokesman Steffen Seibert. "I remain thankful for the good conversations with him and my thoughts are with his family".

    At the same time, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his thoughts are with the family of d'Estaing and the French people, posting his condolences on Twitter.

    France was also offered condolences from EU politicians (including European Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen) and foreign powers.

    ​"This morning I pay tribute to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. In his heart, the destinies of France and Europe were intertwined. I offer my condolences to the French people. Today we mourn a great European who will continue to inspire us", von der Leyen said.
    "This morning I would like to commemorate the memory of the former President of the French Republic, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Throughout his life, he worked in favour of strengthening Europe. We owe him a lot", a tweet from Borrell says.

    Giscard d'Estaing governed France for a single seven-year term from 1974-1981, contributing to the development of nuclear power and a high-speed train system in the country. He was also known for supporting European integration and became one of the authors of the European Constitution, which was signed by the bloc's members in 2004, but never came into force.

    Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Germany, Russia, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Giscard d'Estaing, France
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