Javakhk Armenians Congratulate Saakashvili Forward Appeal

AKHALKALAK (A-INFO)–A group of non-governmental organizations of Javakhk sent the following congratulatory letter/appeal to the newly elected president of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili:

We congratulate you on your election victory–and wish you the best in advancing our country.

The unprecedented participation of the Javakhk population in presidential elections–as well as the great percentage of votes you received–symbolize the hope that people hold in your ability to advance democracy.

Before the presidential election–we–the leadership of Armenian non-governmental organizations of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region–in attaching great importance to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country–and during the fateful period for Georgia–appealed to acting president Nino Burjanadze.

We now appeal to you–hoping for positive developmen’s.

The deep national–political–and socio-economic crises of Georgia are the result of the following troubling–unresolved problems:

Fundamental human and ethnic minority rights guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution and international standards–necessary for establishing democratic and civil society–are being violated. In fact–the process of fulfilling the country’s commitmen’s before the Council of Europe has failed.

Rejection of the constitutionally guaranteed principle of self-governance has left many regions of the country to their fate–resulting in current dangerous developmen’s. The situation of the Samtskhe-Javakhk region is critical. Existing administrative and governance structures neither take into account the specifics of the region–nor do they correspond to the needs of the population. The system has long demonstrated that it is bankrupt and unproductive. The Samtskhe-Javakhk region has actually been pushed out of the governing process of the country.

The administrative governance of the region has been repressed. No short or long-term socio-economic programs to serve the interests of the population exist. Poverty and desperation have reached threatening levels. Educational and cultural institutions are unsatisfactory.

It is crucial to have the region fully integrated into the state–political–socio-economic–and cultural lives of the country.

We are sure that the civilized resolution to this deep crisis is to clarify the region’s administrative borders–and grant autonomy by way of the constitution.

Thus–we fully support certain constitutional reforms that ensure Georgia’s sovereignty and integrity–while establishing a federative or confederative structure.

We are sure that constitutional reforms that enhance democratic values will make it possible to find solutions to the problems of the entire people of Georgia–including the population of Samtskhe-Javakhk.

We are confident that resolving these issues would ensure the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity–and would contribute to normal economic development of Georgia.

Council of Samtskhe-Javakhk Armenian non-governmental organizations

Akhalkalak

January 16–2004

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