Sunday, August 28, 2016

Caucasus Report

Georgia's Armenian Minority Appeals To Armenian President

Georgia's Armenian minority have asked Serzh Sarkisian (left) to mediate for them with Mikheil Saakashvili.
Georgia's Armenian minority have asked Serzh Sarkisian (left) to mediate for them with Mikheil Saakashvili.
The predominantly Armenian population of the southern Georgian region of Djavakheti (Armenian Djavakhk) has formally appealed to Republic of Armenia President Serzh Sarkisian to raise their long-standing grievances with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili, Noyan Tapan reported on June 18. Saakashvili is scheduled to visit Armenia on June 24-25.

The Djavakhk representatives affirm their vital interest in the preservation of political stability and economic prosperity and the further development of democracy in Georgia. At the same time, they warn of "imminent dangers" resulting from unspecified "illegal actions" by local Georgian officials, actions that, they imply, have exacerbated tensions in the region.

They then list seven specific issues they ask Sarkisian to raise with Saakashvili. The first is granting the region the right to local self-government. Armenian NGOs previously lobbied for formal autonomy within Georgia.

The second, which has been raised repeatedly in the past, is to designate Armenian an official language in the region in addition to Georgian, of which many local Armenians have only a rudimentary knowledge.

The third is to restore to Armenian control a number of churches and other historic monuments to which the Georgians lay equal claim.

The fourth is the immediate release of Vahagn Chakhalian, a young Armenian community leader who was arrested 11 months ago and sentenced in April to 10 years in prison on charges, which Armenian civil rights organizations consider unsubstantiated, of illegal possession of weapons, participating in mass disorders, resisting arrest, and "hooliganism."

The fifth is reopening the Verkhnii Lars border and customs post on the Russian-Georgian border, which would enable Armenians to travel overland to Russia. Georgia signaled its readiness late last month to begin talks with Moscow on reopening Verkhnii Lars.

The sixth is opening a subsidiary of Tbilisi State University in Djavakheti to enable young Armenians to receive a higher education in Georgia, rather than travel to Armenia to study there.

And the last is to permit the Armenian population of Djavakhk to hold dual (i.e. Georgian and Armenian) citizenship, which is provided for by the constitutions of both countries.

Tags: minority,Armenia,Georgia

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Comment Sorting
by: David
June 21, 2009 20:57
Liz Fuller acts in her usual role specialization of serving as a mouthpiece for notorious and land-hungry "Armenian cause"... This article simply restates what some secessionist-minded people want from Georgia without any critical assessment of a situation on the ground. Djavakheti, which Liz Fuller prefers to call by its Armenian name 'Djavakhk', will never be a second Karabakh!

by: David
June 22, 2009 09:05
RFE/RL editors, why do you screen off my post? Is this a sort of censorship for "unwanted" messages?.. Liz Fuller's pro-Armenian bias is apparent in this article. Djavakheti will never be a second Karabakh!

by: Harold from: Canada
June 23, 2009 20:04
David, Djavakheti will never be a second Karabakh. Djavakheti has been Georgian and will always stay Georgian as Karabakh was Armenian and will always be Armenian. Djavakheti and Karabakh is to different things. The question about autonomy is to protect the Armenian population from the highly sensitive political situation between Russia/Georgia. Because Armenia being a landlocked with a blockade from Azerbaidjan and Turkey, she has not much options left.

by: JD
July 02, 2009 20:04
Harold writes: "The question about autonomy is to protect the Armenian population from the highly sensitive political situation between Russia/Georgia."... Yes, the same old story, start by ethnic autonomy, then end up with irrendentist claims and secession...No way! FYI, Karabakh have always been part of Azerbaijan and never part of Hayastan (Armenian name for Armenia)!

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.