On the Death of Archil Tatunashvili in Georgia’s South Ossetia Region

On the Death of Georgian Citizen Archil Tatunashvili in Georgia’s South Ossetia Region

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry R. Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
March 1, 2018

The United States is deeply concerned by the death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili during his February 22 arrest and detention in the Russian occupied Georgian territory of South Ossetia. We express our condolences to Mr. Tatunashvili’s family and call for the immediate return of his remains to Tbilisi-administered territory. The United States calls for a full accounting of the circumstances of this tragic incident and continues to encourage all sides to agree on additional measures to strengthen mutual confidence and transparency in the affected region.

Mr. Chair, the United States is also deeply concerned that two Georgian citizens detained along with Mr. Tatunashvili, who have now been released, have been prevented from returning to Tbilisi-administered territory. We call for them to immediately be allowed to freely cross the administrative boundary line.

Mr. Chair, the United States wishes to take this occasion to reiterate its full support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders, and rejects Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We once again urge Russia to fulfill all of its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions, to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, and to provide free access for humanitarian assistance to these regions. We also reiterate our call for justice in the May 2016 murder of a Georgian citizen along the administrative boundary line of the occupied territory of Abkhazia in Georgia.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.