PM says efforts underway to retrieve body of Georgian citizen from occupied region

  • Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili believes the body of the late Archil Tatunashvili will be soon returned to his family. Photo by the PM's press office, 4 Mar 2018 - 13:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s prime minister has said the body of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili, who died in the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali, will be buried on home soil.

In a statement released Sunday, Giorgi Kvirikashvili said it was a tragedy that the family could not mourn the loss of their loved one.

The Government of Georgia is sparing no effort to have the body handed to the family as soon as possible,” he said. 
All our friends, the international community, are standing by our side in this process, and the role of the Patriarch and our Church is immensely important”, he added.

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II has urged his Russian counterpart Patriarch Kirill to mediate to in this process of handing over Tatunashvili’s body to Tbilisi-administered territory.

Tatunashvili and two other Georgian citizens were detained by the occupying forces on February 22 in Akhalgori, a territory currently controlled by Russians.

Tatunashvili, 35, died under unclear circumstances in Tskhinvali on February 23. The others have been released but they cannot leave the occupied territory since their identification documents have been confiscated.

Time has come to be strong, to mourn duly and lay to rest a valiant man, and then summon the strength to continue the irreversible process of building our country, one step at a time, along with the process of reconciliation with the Ossetians and the Abkhazians with even greater resolve and determination, however difficult it may sound today”, Kvirikashvili said.

Kvirikashvili said there are people on the other side of the barbed wires too, who do care about our centuries-old history of coexistence.

The United States, the European Union, many other countries and almost all international organisations have stated they are deeply concerned over the case and have urged Russia and the de-facto leadership to hand over the body and to not hinder a transparent investigation into the death.