By Mario Trujillo - 07/07/14 05:34 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday passed along his condolences following the death of Eduard Shevardnadze, the former president of Georgia and foreign minister of the Soviet Union.
Shevardnadze, who is credited as being instrumental in Soviet reforms that brought an end to the Cold War, died earlier in the day.
Kerry commended the former leader's help in securing nuclear arms control treaties in the 1980s and for his advocacy for reforms to the Soviet Union.
"He reduced the risk of nuclear confrontation by giving new life to arms control negotiations,” Kerry said. “He opposed the hardliners and refused to use force against Central and Eastern European countries when they began political and economic reforms, and he advocated reform within the Soviet Union as well."
Shevardnadze, a native of Georgia, was nominated by Gorbachev as foreign minister in 1985. He resigned in 1990, a year before the Soviet Union fell.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he was elected the second president of an independent Georgia in 1995 and served for eight years before being pushed out in the 2003 Rose Revolution amid election fraud charges.
"As Georgia pauses to reflect on the life of one of its great statesmen, we urge all Georgians to remain committed to a united, democratic Georgia," Kerry said.