Georgia’s second President buried next to his wife

Shevardnadze’s coffin was carried by men dressed in Georgian traditional clothes who passed through the soldiers., 13 Jul 2014 - 17:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Ex-President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze was buried in Tbilisi next to his wife in Krtsanisi Residence where he lived since his resignation from presidency after the 2003 Rose Revolution.

Georgia’s current President and Prime Minister and several foreign delegations attended his funeral today.

Shevardnadze was Georgia’s second President and Soviet ex-Foreign Minister. He died on July 7, aged 86, after battling a long illness.

The funeral ceremony began at the Holy Trinity Cathedral then Shevardnadze’s coffin was carried by men dressed in Georgian traditional clothes who passed through the soldiers, as members of the Georgian Government, Parliament, international delegations and diplomats watched.

Earlier, several former political leaders and celebrities expressed their condolences to Shevardnadze’s family and said a few fond words in remembrance.

"Thank you for everything Eduard, we will never ever forget you,” said Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who was the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1992.

"You are among the architects of the new, modern, peaceful world,” he added and thanked the former Georgian President in the name of Georgian people.

"Today we say goodbye to the European statesman who, with Mikhail Gorbachev, together changed not only his contemporary world through innovative thinking and trust-based actions, but the whole world as well,” he said.

"We pay tribute to a great European who played a crucial role in the completion of the Cold War and the reunification of Europe and Germany,” Hans-Dietrich Genscher said.

James Addison Baker III, who was the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first Administration and President George H. W. Bush, also spoke at the funeral. He said they were "great friends” with Eduard Shevardnadze and trusted each other in "world matters”.

"The world needs leaders as Eduard Shevardnadze was: leaders who have the ability to look to the future and the courage to facilitate change. We will really miss him, his vision, strength and commitment to a peaceful, productive and efficient world order,” Baker said.

He said Shevardnadze was a "softly spoken man” with a strong inner nature who always did what he believed was right.

Meanwhile current President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili recalled that Shevardnadze’s name was associated with the abolition of the death penalty in Georgia.

"We regret and mourn the death of the second president of Georgia. We also thank the people who appreciated Mr. Shevardnadze, arrived here today and appreciated our country. We are grateful to those who sent letters of condolence," President Margvelashvili said.

Similarly, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili believed Shevardnadze’s name would remain among the greatest politicians of the world for a long time.

"Now when Georgia has made important steps towards Europe we cannot forget the greatest role Eduard Shevardnadze had in this. He lay a ground to this process years ago, his name is connected with formation of the pro-western course of our country,” PM Garibashvili said.

He adding Shevardnadze contributed to the process of Georgia becoming the member of European Council as well as World Trade Organization, as well as important development projects including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Supsa, and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines.

Garibashvili also thanked the foreign delegations for attending Shevardnadz’s funeral.

After many fond words had been spoken, members of Shevardnadze’s family addressed the mourners and thanked the Georgian Government and foreign politicians for their warm memories of their loved one.

Shevardnadze’s son, Paata Shevardnadze, said the greatest victory of his father was his resignation.

"History does not love those who loose but Eduard Shevardnadze was winner even when he was defeated,” he said.