Addressing a gathering of senior Armenian diplomats on September 1, President Serzh Sarkisian outlined measures he considers necessary to help the large Armenian community in southern Georgia integrate more successfully into Georgian society without losing their Armenian identity.
include granting Armenian the formal status of a regional language, registering the Armenian Apostolic Church, and preserving Armenian historic monuments on Georgian territory.
Granting Armenian the status of an official regional language was one of the issues NGOs in the predominantly Armenian-populated Djavakheti (Armenian Djavakhk) region of southern Georgia asked Sarkisian
to raise with his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili, during Sarkisian's official visit to Tbilisi in late June.
Many Armenians in Djavakhk have only a rudimentary knowledge of Georgian, which limits their career prospects.
They also asked for restoring to Armenian control a number of churches and other historic monuments to which Georgia also names claim, and, crucially, local self-government for the region.