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Saakashvili speaking Azerbaijani2010-03-22 18:14
Nowruz has been declared a national Muslim holiday in Georgia. It's a revolutionary novelty for the country with the Orthodox Church having a special role due to the concordat. Does that mean that the president decided to equalize all religions in the country as advised by Western democrats? Or it's just strengthening ties with Azerbaijan?
Recently Mikheil Saakashvili delivered a speech in Azerbaijani congratulating residents of Georgia's Kvemo Kartli mostly populated by Azerbaijanis on Muslim New Year (Nowruz Bayram).
The president declared Nowruz a national holiday meeting enthusiastic clamor of the crowd in Marneuli town. "I want you to know that all Georgia is celebrating this holiday with you. Under the government decision your holiday is announced national to be celebrated by all population of the country from now on". According to him this decision confirms equality of all citizens. Not only problems of people are important, but their joys and holidays too.
Besides, the president reminded of new rules of admitting representatives of national minorities to the country's higher educational institutions. As we know, the government enabled leavers of Armenian and Azerbaijani schools to take entrance exam in their native language and take an intensive course of the Georgian language during first year. If the official language is mastered well, a student will be allowed to continue vocational education in Georgia's colleges. "We do it to keep you here for your higher education", -Saakashvili explained yesterday.
Marneilu, a shabby town, turned into one of Georgia's most attractive places over the period of Saakashvili's presidency, the president boasted. In Algeti, a nearby village, the speaking president could have added, the ancient mosque is being reconstructed now. In Soviet times it was closed and used as a recreation center.
Saakashvili expressed special gratitude to Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliev and Azerbaijani nation for the support the neighboring state had always lent to Georgia in times of trouble.
The president awarded Ganira Pashaeva, a resident of Marneuli, a deputy of the Azerbaijani parliament, the honored citizen title giving her a medal and a certificate of honor. "She is a friend of mine so I'm proud to have such a friend who is always here with our people", - he remarked.