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Klaus Kinkel
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F063645-0024, Pullach, Besuch Carstens beim BND.jpg
Kinkel as President of the Federal Intelligence Service in 1981
Vice Chancellor of Germany
In office
21 January 1993 – 26 October 1998
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Jürgen Möllemann
Succeeded by Joschka Fischer
Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
18 May 1992 – 26 October 1998
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Succeeded by Joschka Fischer
Leader of the Free Democratic Party
In office
11 June 1993 – 10 June 1995
Preceded by Otto Graf Lambsdorff
Succeeded by Wolfgang Gerhardt
Federal Minister of Justice
In office
18 January 1991 – 18 May 1992
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Hans A. Engelhard
Succeeded by Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
President of the Federal Intelligence Service
In office
1 January 1979 – 26 December 1982
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Gerhard Wessel
Succeeded by Eberhard Blum
Personal details
Born (1936-12-17)17 December 1936
Metzingen, Germany
Died 4 March 2019(2019-03-04) (aged 82)
Sankt Augustin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Political party FDP
Alma mater University of Tübingen
University of Bonn
University of Cologne

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

Kinkel war 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 time 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 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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