YEREVAN (RFE/RL–Armenpress)–An Armenian government delegation led by a top aide to Prime Minister Andranik Markarian was in Georgia’s Javakhk region over the weekend–discussing with local officials grievances of its predominantly ethnic Armenian population.
The local A-Info news agency reported that the Armenian officials met with the recently appointed governor of the larger Samtskhe-Javakhetia province–Teymuraz Mosiashvili–in the town of Akhaltsikhe–the regional administrative center. Speaking at a joint news conference at a local Armenian school–Mosiashvili and the head of the Armenian delegation–Stepan Markarian–said the discussions took place in a "friendly atmosphere."
They said periodical outbreaks of tension in Javakhk will not damage relations between Georgia and Armenia.
Markarian–himself a native of Javakhk–said most local Armenia’s are campaigning for greater "self-government inside Georgia," rather than autonomy.
He accused unnamed mass media of "disseminating reports about the autonomy that do not correspond to reality" and said forces outside the region are the ones who want to destabilize it. "The whole problem lies not in Javakhk–but outside it," Markarian said.
The Armenpress news agency reported that Mosiashvili has announced that he will–in turn–visit Armenia to address regional and economic cooperation issues.
Mosiashvili told the Prime News agency that the Georgian government will discuss a three-year program of reforms for the area–which will focus on the long-term socio-economic effects of the Russian troop withdrawal in the region.