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UNITED NATIONS, March 21. /TASS/. The United Nations General Assembly gathered on Tuesday for a commemorative meeting to honor the late Russia’s Permanent Representative, Vitaly Churkin, who died suddenly on February 20.
Opening the meeting, Daniel Thomas, Spokesperson for the President of 71th session of the General Assembly, said that the outstanding Russian diplomat will always stay in memory of his colleagues and offered condolences to his family, the Russian government and people.
After that, participants in the meeting stood up to observe a minute of silence.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres noted that although he did not know Churking for long he still had a chance to appreciate the Russian diplomat’s diplomatic talents. "Rest in peace," he said in Russian.
The meeting was attended by Churkin’s widow, Irina, his son Maxim, Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak and employees of the Russian mission to the United Nations.
The initiative to convene a commemorative meeting in honor of the late Russian ambassador came from the president of the 71st session, Peter Thomson, on the day of Churkin’s death.
Such commemorative meetings are typically convened to honor heads of state and prominent politicians. The latest such meeting was held to pay tribute to Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro who died in November 2016 at the age of 90. A month before that, the United Nations General Assembly honored Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Vitaly Churkin, who had held the position of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since April 8, 2006, died on February 20, just a day ahead of his 65th birthday. The Russian foreign ministry said he had died while on duty. Churkin was buried in Moscow on February 24. President Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Courage to him posthumously.