Georgia saddened by terrorist attack in France

Official Tbilisi offered condolences to French people. Photo by Charlie Hebdo website saying "I am Charlie.", 08 Jan 2015 - 11:56, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian high officials are expressing their sadness and condolences regarding yesterday's terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which ended in the death of 12 innocent people, including two police officers.

"I learned about this tragedy with great sadness,” Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said in a special statement.

"This horrific terrorist attack was directed not only against French people but against all of us. Terrorism cannot be justified," the PM said. 

"Freedom of speech and freedom of press is a supreme right which should be adequately protected always and everywhere. In the name of Georgian people I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. We stand with the French people in this difficult time,” Garibashvili noted.

Gunmen shot dead 12 people and injured 10 others at the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo in a Islamist terrorist attack. Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor and two police officers were among those killed. 

French police are continuing their search for three suspects.

Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "God is Great" in Arabic ("Allahu Akbar"). The satirical magazine has caused controversy in the past with its irreverent take on news and current affairs. The magazine's office was attacked in November 2011 - a day after it published a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. The latest tweet on Charlie Hebdo's Twitter account was a cartoon of the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili also responded to the tragic incident and offered full support to the people of France during this difficult time.

"In these times of adversity we express solidarity with the French government and French people. We stand with you to protect our common prosperity. Georgian and French soldiers stand side by side in the hot spots around the world to ensure peace and secure future,” he said.

"Georgia condemns any manifestation of terrorism and continues to fight against one of the biggest threats of modern times,” the President noted.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry released a special statement where it expressed its deepest concern regarding the terrorist attack.

"This barbaric act, which was carried out against freedom of press and freedom of speech, once again emphasizes the seriousness of threats coming from radical ideologies and underlines the importance of the international community’s consolidation for fighting against terrorism, as one of the major global challenges,” the statement read.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveys its condolences to the families of the victims and expresses solidarity with the French government and all French people in these difficult times.” 

In addition, a condolence book will open at the French Embassy of Georgia tomorrow. Those wishing to record a condolence note in the book will be able to visit the Embassy on January 9 from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm.