Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili’s remarks on the occasion of Abkhaz Language Day on October 27, angered Moscow-backed foreign ministry in Sokhumi, accusing the Georgian authorities of politicization of the Abkhaz language issue.
Georgian Presidential Administration presented Georgian-Abkhaz version of the Constitution on Tuesday, with President Zurabishvili remarking that “as the President of Georgia and Guarantor of the Constitution, I have responsibility to protect Abkhaz language.”
Noting that the Abkhaz language is in the UNESCO’s list of endangered languages, Georgian President said “preserving and developing Abkhaz language and culture is a obligation to our common past, culture and identity, as uniqueness and richness of the Georgian culture lie in our linguistic diversity.”
In a response statement, released only in Russian, Kremlin-backed Abkhaz authorities claimed that challenges to Abkhaz language were mostly connected to “the long-term policy of the Georgian leadership to destroy any signs of the identity of the Abkhaz people, their cultural and traditional values.”
“President of Georgia, apparently, does not think about the fact that the preservation of Abkhaz language, with all the existing difficulties, can be best ensured precisely by the existence of Abkhaz statehood and Abkhaz ethnos,” the statement of Abkhaz foreign ministry concluded.
According to the Constitution of Georgia, “the official language of Georgia shall be Georgian, and, in the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, also Abkhaz.”