In Quotes: Tributes from Foreign Dignitaries after Death of Shevardnadze
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Jul.'14 / 13:48

Tributes and condolences after the death of Georgia’s second president and former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze have flowed in from foreign dignitaries and his former colleagues.

Shevardnadze, who died in Tbilisi on July 7 at the age of 86, will be laid to rest with a state funeral on July 13; the coffin will lie in state in the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Below is a round-up of some of the statements and condolences of current and former officials and leaders over death of Shevardnadze:

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said in his message of condolence addressed to Shevardnadze’s family:
“Eduard Amvrosiyevich [Shevardnadze] lived a life full of dramatic events. He played an important role in sharp turns of development of the Soviet Union and his native Georgia. His memory as of a great politician and statesman will live on in hearts of many people in our countries.”

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said:
“Eduard Shevardnadze was an extraordinary, talented person… He made a serious contribution in foreign policy of perestroika; he was a sincere supporter of new way of thinking in the world affairs. His appointment as the [Soviet Union’s] foreign minister was a surprise for many, but he was skillful on this post, winning appreciation from diplomats, friends and workmates, foreign partners. He played a huge role in the unification of Germany and in the European affairs in general, in normalization of relations with China, in dialogue with the United States. I would like to especially note his contribution in stopping nuclear arms race.”  

Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement:
“As Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union and later as President of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze had a major impact on our continent’s history. With his death, the world has lost a person who demonstrated courage and vision in times of great historic changes. His role in overcoming the Cold War and the division of Europe shall not be forgotten. German reunification would not have been possible without his resolve and commitment.”
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Shevardnadze’s West German counterpart in the late 1980s, told The Associated Press:
“I think one can say that he was one of the significant and outstanding statesmen of the 20th century,”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement:
“As foreign minister of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, Shevardnadze played an instrumental role with President Gorbachev, President Reagan, and Secretary Shultz in bringing the Cold War to an end. He reduced the risk of nuclear confrontation by giving new life to arms control negotiations. He opposed the hardliners and refused to use force against Central and Eastern European countries when they began political and economic reforms, and he advocated reform within the Soviet Union as well. As Georgia's second president following the restoration of independence, Shevardnadze helped ensure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that fragile state during the 1990s, and put Georgia on its irreversible trajectory toward Euro-Atlantic integration. As Georgia pauses to reflect on the life of one of its great statesmen, we urge all Georgians to remain committed to a united, democratic Georgia.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker said:
“Eduard Shevardnadze will have an honored place in history because he and Mikhail Gorbachev refused to support the use of force to keep the Soviet empire together.”
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said in a condolences message addressed to Georgian President Margvelashvili, the people of Georgia, and the family and friends of Shevardnadze:
“The huge authority of Eduard Shevardnadze on the international arena, his unique personal qualities and extensive experience of being directly involved the Soviet state building helped to develop and strengthen the independent Georgian state, made a big contribution to the enhancement of relations between the Republic of Belarus and Georgia.”

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev sent two separate condolence messages – one to the Shevardnadze family and another one to President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili; the latter one reads:
Eduard Shevardnadze was an “outstanding Georgian politician and statesman, a big friend of Azerbaijan. The entire life, high state activities of Eduard Shevardnadze for the prosperity of brotherly Georgia earned him authority, deep respect and worldwide recognition. Eduard Shevardnadze made a tremendous contribution to the preservation, development and strengthening of centuries-long traditions of friendship, good neighborliness and mutual support between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Georgia. National leader Heydar Aliyev and Eduard Shevardnadze are the founding fathers and those who developed qualitatively the new intergovernmental relations and strategic partnership between our brotherly nations.”

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said in condolence message:
“Eduard Shevardnadze was distinguished representative of the Georgian people, farsighted politician, who has done a lot for his homeland.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson said in a statement:
“The Secretary-General recalls Mr. Eduard Shevardnadze’s significant contribution as Foreign Minister of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the international stage and his efforts to overcome the divisions of the Cold War, including through advocating for nuclear disarmament at the United Nations.”
Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt wrote on his Twitter:
“Eduard Shevardnadze was a big personality of our time. His December 1990 resignation should not be forgotten today.”

Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary General and ex-chief of EU foreign policy, wrote on his Twitter:
“Sad. Great friend. Key at end USSR and reunification of Germany. Great figure.”

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