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Gyula Horn, Former Hungarian Prime Minister, Dies


Former Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn (left) and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev together in Budapest in 2007

Former Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn (left) and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev together in Budapest in 2007

Former Hungarian leader Gyula Horn, who played a key role in the opening of the Iron Curtain in 1989, has died at the age of 80.

The death of Horn, who served as Hungary's prime minister and foreign minister, on June 19 was announced by the Hungarian government.

Horn had been hospitalized in Budapest for several years due to undisclosed ailments.

He was best known internationally for his announcement in 1989 as communist Hungary's then-foreign minister that Budapest would allow East German refugees to leave Hungary for West Germany, one of the key events which led to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

In 1994, he won elections as the head of the postcommunist Socialist Party.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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