Georgian leaders congratulated the country’s ethnic Azerbaijani community on the occasion of Nowruz, a holiday marking spring equinox.
On March 20, President Salome Zurabishvili attended the Nowruz celebrations in Gardabani, a town in the Kvemo Kartli region predominately populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis.
“I would like to congratulate you that you are continuing your traditions; no person and no society will progress without traditions; so we need to protect and carry on our traditions,” Zurabishvili told the local residents.
“I am proud that Georgia is a place where people of various origins and faiths have lived peacefully… we should continue and strengthen this coexistence and make our country an exemplary place,” she added.
On March 21, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze travelled to Marneuli, also in the Kvemo Kartli region, on the occasion of Nowruz festivities.
“We [all] live in Georgia, in a country that has centuries-old history of brotherhood, compassion and unity; Georgia’s strength has always been in its diversity, in the joint efforts of its children for our common homeland. We have to pass on this compassion and brotherhood to next generations,” PM Bakhtadze addressed an outdoor gathering in Marneuli.
In Georgia’s 2014 population census, 233,000 people (6.3%) reported Azerbaijani origin. In Kvemo Kartli, they make 41.7% of the population.
Nowruz was declared a national holiday in Georgia in 2010.