On 22 March 2019, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) Li Xiaolin and the heads of diplomatic missions from the countries of the SCO Family delivered their greetings on the occasion of the International Nowruz Day celebrations held in Beijing.
SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov noted in his speech that International Nowruz Day symbolises friendship, mutual understanding, harmony and a creative beginning. "There are no national borders for Nowruz, which unites all people and various societies through goodwill and friendship," Norov said. "A unique feature of Nowruz is that it is promoting the values of peace and solidarity and helps preserve centuries-old traditions and cultural diversity."
"The ideals of Nowruz and the Shanghai spirit are identical in many ways. This is why the celebration of Nowruz has a deep meaning and special significance for strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between our nations, as well as for the rapprochement of the cultures of the SCO Family countries," the SCO Secretary-General pointed out.
He also expressed his sincere gratitude to the President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) for supporting the initiative to jointly celebrate Nowruz and to the heads of the SCO Family countries' diplomatic missions for their support as well as active participation in this event.
CPAFFC President Li Xiaolin pointed out in her speech that Nowruz is celebrated by many nations as a symbol of spring and the New Year. She added that Nowruz is celebrated by Chinese ethnic groups such as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Uyghurs and the Salar people.
"In 2009, Nowruz was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and was declared International Nowruz Day to be celebrated on 21 March. This is why Nowruz, which is a symbol of friendship, solidarity and striving for peace, has become a festival that is celebrated by the whole of humankind on the day of the vernal equinox," Li Xiaolin noted.
India's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China Vikram Misri extended his warm wishes on the occasion of International Nowruz Day, saying that the joint celebration of Nowruz by the SCO Family in Beijing symbolises the shared cultural heritage of the region. He said: "Nowruz is a very important festival in the rich and varied cultural tapestry of India. The ethos of hope, harmony and goodwill which Nowruz exemplifies are particularly relevant in today's world filled with strife."
Shakhrat Nuryshev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to China, said during his remarks that Nowruz is a festival of the renewal of nature and the beginning of the New Year, spring and fertility, friendship and cooperation.
The Ambassador pointed out the recent changes in Kazakhstan following the resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 20 March 2019.
"According to the Constitution, the same day Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev officially assumed office as the President of Kazakhstan. This decision is evidence of paramount consideration and genuine care for the future of the country. A tranquil transfer of power is a powerful factor for maintaining internal stability and strengthening the international prestige of the Republic of Kazakhstan," the Ambassador said.
"I would like to say that the foreign policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan remains unchanged and that our country will continue to firmly adhere to its international obligations," Shakhrat Nuryshev pointed out.
In conclusion, he congratulated all those present on the spring festivity of Nowruz and wished everyone health, happiness, peace and goodwill.
Counsellor at the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Department of European and Central Asian Affairs Yu Jun extended his heartfelt greetings on the spring festival of Nowruz, saying that the celebration of this wonderful occasion together with SCO friends symbolised the dynamic development of the SCO in many spheres. "I am sure that Nowruz will make friendship and solidarity between our nations even stronger and that the future of the SCO will be brighter and even more beautiful," the Chinese diplomat pointed out.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kyrgyzstan to China Kanaiym Baktygulova noted in her speech that Nowruz symbolises an indivisible connection between humankind and the awakening of nature. The Kyrgyz people celebrate this day as the festival of renewal, good hope and harmony, because Nowruz is a festival of friendship, mutual trust and the unity of all nations, she noted.
"We have gathered here today in response to the SCO Secretary-General's initiative to celebrate Nowruz together. I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries for its hospitality and for sharing this wonderful place with us for the celebration of Nowruz in a pleasant environment. I would like to wish all the countries of the SCO Family peace, goodwill and prosperity. I am confident that mutual accord and friendship between our nations will continue to strengthen," Kanaiym Baktygulova said.
Pakistani Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China Masood Khalid wished everyone happy Nowruz. He said that Nowruz is a festival that signifies a new season and a time of harmony, an opportunity to look back on the past year and to look ahead at the year to come. "Nowruz is also a time for a fresh start, and in that spirit, I would like to emphasise again that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will stick to the Shanghai Spirit and will forge ahead with all-round cooperation within the framework of the SCO," Masood Khalid said.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to China Andrei Denisov wished all his SCO colleagues and partners happy Nowruz.
"Nowruz is widely celebrated in Russia as well. This festivity goes way back into history and has its own rich and colourful traditions. It symbolises the awakening and revival of Mother Nature, bright hopes for the future, the aspiration of nations for a peaceful and creative life, the strengthening of good-neighbourly relations, harmony and mutual respect. I sincerely wish all of you and your families all the best, good health and prosperity. May the new spring inspire us towards new achievements in our common efforts for the benefit of our nations," the Russian Ambassador said.
Tajikistan's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China Parviz Davlatzoda noted in his greetings that ancient as the human civilisation and eternally young as spring, the festive occasion of Nowruz brings new hopes and faith in the realisation of one's dreams, just like the Chinese or Lunar New Year.
Nowruz is an eternal connection between Man and Nature. It fills our hearts with the feeling of fraternity, love, generosity and benevolence. These noble feelings are rooted in the good traditions of our forefathers as set out in their behest to us: "Good words, good deeds, good intentions," the Tajikistani Ambassador pointed out.
He added that Nowruz as an integral part of the Great Silk Road greatly contributed to the growth of knowledge and cultural ties among our nations. He also expressed confidence that "the SCO Family of nations can respond to our nations' highest aspirations by means of good intentions, sincere and constructive cooperation, a high culture of friendship, benevolence and friendly cooperation based on the high values of Nowruz."
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Uzbekistan to China Bakhtiyor Saidov pointed out that historically, through centuries many nations celebrated Nowruz as the festival of renewal and rejuvenation, the awakening of nature that gives new hope to people.
"As the great poet and thinker Alisher Navoi said, ‘May every day be Nowruz.' These days, representatives of more than 130 ethnicities living in Uzbekistan are celebrating this festivity in harmony and unity, participating in large-scale celebrations where they demonstrate their culture, traditions, national cuisine and costumes," the Ambassador said.
Charge d'Affaires of Afghanistan to China Sayed Habiburahman Husinpur remarked that Nowruz was the most ancient festival in the region. In Afghanistan, it has a history of almost 5,700 years, dating back to the era of the Kingdom of Jamshid (Yama Padshah) in the ancient Balkh, a city in the north of Afghanistan. This year we will celebrate this magnificent festival as a legacy of our ancestors for the 5698th time, he said.
He said he hoped the New Solar Year would be a year of peace, glory, prosperity and welfare for all nations celebrating Nowruz.
Iran's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China Mohammad Keshavarz Zadeh pointed out that Nowruz is an international festival when people convey kindness, love and friendship.
"The philosophical meaning of Nowruz is to face up to nature, to rejuvenate and to nourish the heart with goodwill. Now the Nowruz festival has become an important factor of national unity and the establishment of friendly relations, and this social tradition has long been preserved and inherited as spiritual nourishment by the Iranian people and by many friendly countries with common cultural elements. In today's complex world, we need more than ever to promote such traditional festivals as Nowruz," the Ambassador said.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to China Akram Zeynalli noted that for centuries the Azerbaijani people solemnly celebrated Nowruz, which symbolises the arrival of spring and signifies unity, equality, prosperity and abundance, as the most ancient and important festival.
Going back into the past, Nowruz has become a major spiritual value of special significance for the development of our national and cultural values. Nowruz is an invaluable legacy the current generations have inherited from their forefathers, the Ambassador said.
He added that the people of Azerbaijan have preserved this priceless memory, and today this festival of the arrival of spring is widely celebrated at the state level.
Turkey's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to China Abdulkadir Emin Onen pointed out that Nowruz, which stands for nature's awakening, new beginnings, hope, fraternity and solidarity, has been celebrated with enthusiasm for thousands of years in a wide region from Central Asia to Anatolia and the Balkans. "I wish Nowruz to bring peace, stability and prosperity to the world," he concluded.