No Autonomy for Javakhk Says Georgian Minister

TBILISI (Armenpress)–Georgia’s parliament security and defense committee held a closed session on February 20 and discussed the situation in predominately Armenian populated region of Javakhk and Pankisi Gorge.

After the session Foreign Affairs Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told reporters that Javakhk is an inseparable part of Georgia and the discussions about its autonomy will be excluded in future. In this context–Menagharishvili hailed the Armenian authorities’ clear standpoint against separatism.

Menagarishvili on blamed some people and forces in Georgia and outside it for the heightened tension in its southern region of Javakhk with a predominant Armenian population.

Accusations came after leaders of region’s Armenian organizations "Javakhk " and "Virk" came up with announcemen’s demanding autonomy for the region.

The local population is against withdrawal of a Russian military base–which is actually one of few sources of jobs for them. However–Georgia deman’s pulling the Russian base out because of agreemen’s made at the OSCE Istanbul summit in 1999. According to Minister Irakli Menagarishvili–negotiations with Russia on this issue are underway. He praised the Armenian authorities–for–as he described "their transparent" positions on this issue. "Javakhk is an integral part of Georgia," he said.

During a recent visit to Tbilisi Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian had said social and economic problems of Javakhk population were in the domain of the central authorities in Tbilisi. "Armenia is ready to assist in resolving them," he said.

Georgia’s Parliament Deputy Van Bayburdian also referred to this issue–saying that the Armenia’s living in Javakhk will never give way to provocation and get into the trap of the idea of independence.

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