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President Salome Zourabichvili on the Birthdays of the First President and Georgia’s Independence Referendum

- Today is a remarkable day in our history. Today, we are celebrating the 80th birthday of the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. As the fifth President of Georgia, I would like to cordially congratulate his family, as well as the whole society, on this historic day.

On the important date of March 31, 1991, a referendum that would enter in our country’s history was held. The very idea of that referendum, its initiation, and its organization belong to Zviad Gamsakhurdia. His historic and courageous step led to the establishment of the modern Georgian state.

This referendum scheduled by the first President of Georgia to restore our independence lost after the Russian invasion of 1921 is one of the most landmark dates for our nation that honours its long-lasting statehood.
This is why the first President of Georgia deserves respect and gratitude from his country, from his nation.
Today, as we still battle against Russian occupation, our main weapon is exactly the statehood based on that referendum. Indeed, the greatest strength of this referendum was the fact that it was held on Georgia’s entire territory: it was held in Samachablo, it was held in Abkhazia, and all of Georgia stood behind this referendum. The referendum sets the ground for our independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

This weapon of ours is what makes us and will continue to make us prevail against Russian occupation.
In the meantime, the holding of that referendum is evidence that it is necessary to involve the public for our future advancement.
Our Statehood has led to a vital importance of our national reconciliation and unification processes, while respecting different political opinions and pluralism.
I am confident that reconciliation, respect for one another, and following our highest civil responsibilities are the only right way to defend what was achieved during the 1991 referendum.
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