Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev hails George Bush for his role in ending Cold War

AFP-JIJI

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Saturday praised former U.S. President George Bush for his role in ending the Cold War, calling him a “true partner.”

Gorbachev, 87, expressed his “deep condolences” to the family of the 41st U.S. president and the entire American nation.

Bush died at age 94 on Friday night, his family announced.

The two men famously declared an end to the Cold War at the Malta summit in December 1989, weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with Bush declaring support for Gorbachev’s “perestroika” reforms.

“A lot of my memories are linked with this man. We had the chance to work together during the time of enormous changes,” Gorbachev said in comments carried by Interfax news agency.

“And this was a dramatic time which called for huge responsibility from everyone. The result was the end of the Cold War and the arms race.”

The last leader of the Soviet Union praised Bush senior for his contribution “to this historic achievement.”

“He was a true partner,” he added.

In 1991, Gorbachev and Bush signed the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty, known as START I, committing the two superpowers to cut their stockpiles of long-range nuclear weapons.

It was the first agreement to call for deep reductions of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons.

There was no immediate reaction from officials in Moscow or the Kremlin. President Vladimir Putin was in Argentina attending a G20 summit of world leaders.