Javakhk Armenians Meet with US Embassy Officials

AKHLKALAK (A-Info)–Officials from the US Embassy in Georgia, who were visiting the region Thursday met with the director of the A-Info News Agency Artak Gabrielyan who briefed the delegation on issues concerning the Armenian community of Samtskh-Javakhketi and discussed the community’s expectations from the Georgian authorities.

The delegation consisted of deputy advisor for the US Embassy Kent Langdon, political desk staffers Joy Davis-Kischener and Mago Chokoberidze and Daniel Renna, a political staffer at the US Embassy in Armenia.

During the visit, the US delegation met with Akhalkalak regional council members and discussed issues of concern to the region, as well as issues related to Javakhk Armenia’s.

At a separate meeting with Gabrielyan and board members from the Political Development Center, an NGO operating in Javakh, the two sides further discussed issues of concern to the Armenian community in Samtskhe-Javakhk and Kvemo-Kartili regions, where Armenia’s are a predominant majority.

After making a brief presentation about the activities of A-Info, Gabrielyan told the US delegation about the disparities in the public education system in Javakhk as well as the numerous calls for fair representation within local and regional governmental bodies.

Gabrielyan outlined that the community has appealed to the federal authorities to declare Armenian an official language in the region and as such further the educational opportunities of the population. Gabrielyan also discussed the continuous appeals by the community to create an Armenian-Georgian state university in the area.

Also discussed were the federal authorities’ refusal to clearly define the role of the regional and local governmen’s and the inclusion of Armenian representatives in those bodies.

Gabrielyan expressed concern about a Georgian government plan to resettle Meskheti Turks in the Samtskhe-Javakhk territory.

Anahit Jamgochyan, the Director of the Political Development Center, told the US delegation that in an area where 97 percent of the population in Armenian, a significant portion of issues such as administration and judicial cases can be better resolved if Armenian were recognized as an official language in the region.

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