Remarks at a Tribute to the Memory of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin

Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
March 21, 2017


Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, on behalf of the United States as host country, I want to convey our most sincere condolences to Mrs. Irina Churkin and the Churkin family on the untimely passing of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. We also extend our sympathy to our colleagues at the Russian mission on the loss of one of your nation’s greatest diplomats.

As the Secretary-General noted, Vitaly Churkin was truly one of a kind. Vitaly Churkin was an ever-eloquent voice at the United Nations and a consummate diplomat throughout his long career. We will remember him for his brilliance, his wisdom and sharp sense of humor. Vitaly Churkin was a steadfast advocate for his country’s policies and was devoted to making the personal connections that make diplomacy work. While we did not always see things the same way, Ambassador Churkin had an eye for identifying compromise and recognized the value of stronger relations between our two countries.

The UN community has experienced a shock and a loss, and we miss Vitaly’s presence here. Russian playwright Anton Chekov wrote that “knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” Our late colleague Vitaly Churkin always put his knowledge into practice. Again, our thoughts and prayers remain with the Churkin family, our colleagues at the Russian Mission, and the people of the Russian Federation.

Thank you, Mr. President.