Repatriation Efforts in Georgia to Negatively Affect Georgian Armenia’s

(Combined Sources)–Zaza Imedashvili–a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Housing and Refugees in Tbilisi–said that Georgia’s budget this year has allocated 1,227,000 Lari (around 500,000 US Dollars)–to resettle thousands of Ajarian Georgians displaced by landslides and other natural disasters.

Close to 5,000 families–around 30,000 people all together–are expecting resettlement any day now under a new government program–which is still at a very early stage.

The program aims to resettle the ethnic Georgians in areas such as Tsalka and Akhalkalaki–which have predominantly Armenian or Greek populations.

"Everyone understands this policy here," said Sevak Yeran’syan–an Armenian resident of Ninotsminda district in the southern region of Javakheti. "They [the Ajarians] will be resettled to Armenian villages so that there will be a larger Georgian population here."

"Their program is to populate our region with Georgians and Ajarians," he said.

The Georgian Government insists that the Ajarians are being moved to these regions because of the cheaper housing that is available there.

The Georgian Government has also pledged to resettle Meskheti Turks in Georgia by the year 2011–also in the predominantly Armenian populated region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.

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