Washington, 14 February 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. State Department has officially expressed its condolences to the family of 16-year-old Joviane Waltrick, the girl who was killed in an automobile crash involving Georgian diplomat Gueorgui Makharadze.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday the family was officially received yesterday at the department by Steve Young, Director for Caucasus Affairs. Burns said Young expressed his condolences to the family and indicated that the State Department had a shared interest in seeing that justice is served in the case.
On January 3, a car driven by Makharadze hit a car stopped at a traffic light, causing a five-car accident that killed Waltrick.
The State Department has formally asked the Georgian government to waive diplomatic immunity now that prosecutors have decided criminal charges should be brought against Makharadze, the second-highest ranking diplomat at the Georgian embassy. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has said he is prepared to waive immunity pending the outcome of the investigation.