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Prime Minister announces Abkhaz language protection plan

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 30
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has announced that the government is creating a state program to protect and develop the Abkhazian language, the language of the Georgian region which is now occupied by Russia.

“I congratulate all Georgian citizens on the day of the Abkhazian language, especially our Abkhazian brothers and sisters,” Kvirikashvili stated on October 27.

The PM said that the state program will be a "significant foundation” for the reconciliation process.

“The program envisages multiple activities. Of course, we will allocate funds for the program from the state budget. I am sure the public will be actively involved in the implementation of the program,” the PM said. “I believe that our sincere and deep attitude to the Abkhazian language and culture will be crucial for the restoration of the burnt bridges that will unite us,” he added.

Abkhaz is a northwest Caucasian language.

About 100,000 people speak Abkhaz in Abkhazia, Georgia’s western, coastal region that’s occupied by Russia.

There are also estimated to be up to hundreds of thousands of Abkhaz speakers in Georgia’s Autonomous Republic of Adjara, as well as Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Germany and the United States.

Georgia’s western Abkhazia and eastern Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions are currently occupied by Russia.

Russia and Nicaragua recognised Abkhazia’s independence in 2008 in the wake of the Russia-Georgia war.

In 2009 Venezuela, Vanuatu, Nauru and Tuvalu took the same step.

After several years Vanuatu and Tuvalu revoked this recognition and now declare Abkhazia and Tskhinvali as integral parts of Georgia.

All other countries worldwide consider Abkhazia and Tskhinvali as Georgian territory.