Georgian leaders congratulated today the country’s ethnic Azerbaijani community on the occasion of Nowruz, a holiday marking spring equinox.
Statements of Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President Giorgi Margvelashvili were read out at an outdoor gathering in Kvemo Kartli region, in the town of Marneuli, predominately populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis.
The President and the Prime Minister, who visited Marneuli on previous occasions, had to cancel their attendance due to the transfer of Archil Tatunashvili’s body.
“You can be proud of your great contribution to building our common state,” President Margvelashvili wrote in his address, adding that he was sure that “by standing and working together we will create a strong and free state.”
Similar messages were voiced by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. “We are all children of one country, our ancestors had lived and worked side-by-side, sharing each other’s joys and grieves; this is how we are today, and the tradition will be continued by our children,” Kvirikashvili wrote in his address.
“We are doing our utmost to establish an enabling environment for our citizens, for their better self-expression and engagement in public life,” PM Kvirikashvili said in his statement. “We are building the future of our country together and will certainly live together in united, strong Georgia,” he added.
The sentiments were echoed by Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, who issued a statement as well. “We are building a strong country as one family, and are marking the occasion, which we have been celebrating for centuries,” he said.
In Georgia’s 2014 population census, 233,000 people (6.3%) reported Azerbaijani origin. In Kvemo Kartli, they make 41.7% of the population.