Armenian Teachers in Georgia Still Barred from Travel to Yerevan

AKHALKALAK (Hetq)–A group of 90 Armenian teachers from Georgia prevented from leaving for Yerevan to attend teacher training courses in Armenian Church history on June 12 have yet to receive permission to travel from the Georgian authorities, reported Hetq on Tuesday.

Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia, told “Hetq” that the group expected to receive permission Tuesday. “We have received positive reactions to our official requests but as yet nothing concrete has been done. If we get the go-ahead by next Monday we will still have time to travel to Armenia,” Bishop Mirzakhanyan said.

Nuneh Vardanyan, the Diaspora Affairs Division Director, of the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science, said that a prior arrangement for the teachers to attend the two week course had been reached but that at the last minute her office had received word that the teachers’ visit had been prohibited since the Georgian Education Ministry needed to give its permission as well.

“Since the school year hasn’t yet ended in Georgia, the ministry would not allow for their absence,” Vardanyan noted, adding that the issue is currently under review. “The Armenian Education Minister Armen Ashotyan is apprised of the matter. He attempted to contact the Georgian education minister but the matter hasn’t been resolved. The teachers haven’t yet arrived but I believe that they will soon.”

Gevorg Nersisyan, who heads the CIS Division at the Armenian Diaspora Ministry, wasn’t even aware that the employees of the Georgian Security Service had telephoned the teachers and interrogated them about their travel plans.

Nersisyan told “Hetq” that in any event he had nothing to report since, “he is over here and the teachers are over there”.

When Nersisyan was asked if the Diaspora Ministry was aware that the teachers were taken to the Georgian Security Service for questioning, he brushed the issue aside and said “All is normal. I am convinced that they will come.”

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