Georgian Defense Minister to Visit Javakhk

TBILISI (Combined Sources)–The Russian news agency Rosbalt reported that Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili will visit the country’s southern district of Javakhk in the coming days to meet with the predominately Armenian population there–and to advise officials during their shut-down of a Russian military base in city Akhalkalak. Georgian Defense Ministry officials arrived in Javakhk ahead of Okruashvili’s visit. Fearing further economic hardship–in an already neglected and suffering region–the population of Javakhk has opposed the closure of the Russian base–which employs a majority of the residents there. The pull-out follows a May 30 agreement between Georgia and Russia to remove two Russian bases by 2008. One base is in Akhalkalak near the Armenian border–the other in Batumi (Adjaria).

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