On the Passing of Guido Westerwelle

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 18, 2016

Teresa and I were deeply saddened to hear of the death of former German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle. My heartfelt condolences go to his husband, Michael Mronz, extended family, friends, and the German people.

I had the privilege of working with Guido during his fourth year as Foreign Minister, and he warmly welcomed me to Berlin during my first visit to Germany as Secretary of State.

I deeply appreciated our close and collegial work together on some of the world’s most difficult challenges. These included our efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan, deal with the tumultuous changes of the Arab Spring, and address the crisis in Darfur.

Guido was a strong champion of democracy and human rights, speaking out on extrajudicial detentions, visiting Syrian refugees in the Zaatari refugee camp, and meeting with Ukrainian protestors on the Maidan in Kyiv.

After leaving office, Guido continued in a different form of public service, founding The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding to encourage democratic development and economic participation in developing countries.

Guido was also a strong advocate for LGBTI rights, particularly equal rights for gay members of the armed forces and civil service.

His voice on these and many other issues will be deeply missed.