Bill Clinton pays tribute to Germany's Kohl

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has paid tribute to longtime German leader Helmut Kohl as "the most important European statesman since World War II."

Clinton and World Bank chief Robert Zoellick on Monday presented the 81-year-old former chancellor with the Henry A. Kissinger Prize, given annually by the American Academy in Berlin for exceptional contributions to trans-Atlantic relations. Kissinger, a former U.S. secretary of state, also was present.

Kohl led Germany from 1982 to 1998. He presided over the reunification of east and west in 1990, then led a reunited Germany in NATO and at the heart of a united Europe.

Clinton says Kohl made the right calls on the big issues of his day and "the 21st-century in Europe really began on his watch."