Javakhk Incident Clarified

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An incident in Georgia’s Javakhk region Friday which involved the local Armenian population and Georgian military units could ignite a conflict between Armenian-Georgian relations and lead to further aggravation of the situation in the region.

According to Governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti–Gigla Baramidze (former Georgian Ambassador to Armenia)–25 armed people tried to attack a group of Georgian servicemen. Baramidze went on saying that two alleged gunmen were detained and that 14 out of 25 members of the group were from neighboring republics. He also alleged that two of the participants belonged to the Armenian Nationalist Organization "Javakhk" working in the Javakhk region–the reports of the Georgia-based "Caucasus-press" news agency said.

Meanwhile–Georgian official sources provided different commen’s of the incident. Georgian Defense Ministry’s press service said that "no attack on the group of Georgian servicemen was planned. This was a mere misunderstanding."

The same source reported that the Georgian servicemen were met by a local resident which protested against military exercises. The Defense Ministry said that the situation is stable and the incident was settled.

At the same time–Georgia’s Defense Ministry issued a statement Friday–wherein it accused the Russian side of poor technical preparation for the exercises–as a result of which certain persons managed to misinform the local Armenian population and provoke an attack on the Georgian servicemen.

The Defense Ministry provided contradictory information–alleging that there was no incident at all and afterward stating that "the attack was provoked" by the local population. According to some Georgian officials–the administration of the region was not notified of the date of military exercises and it was not correct to accuse somebody of disseminating misinformation.

The Interior Ministry of Georgia said that "an armed attack on the artillery unit of the Georgian Defense Ministry took place on August 13."

Commenting on the same incident–chief of the Investigations Department Avtandil Ioseliani–ruled out that some external factor might have caused the incident and assured that the problem would be settled.

The Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic in exile–Tamaz Nadareishvili holds a different viewpoint. He said,"I consider that the incident in the Akhalkalaki region is another attempt of external forces to destabilize the political situation in Georgia."

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