AKHALKALAK, Samtskhe-Javakheti (A-Info)–During an expanded session of the Council of Armenian Organization of Javakhk Tuesday, a resolution was drafted calling for the establishment of a Javakhk state within a federated Georgia. This resolution will be presented at a conference scheduled for April 16.
Invited to participate in the conference are representatives of all Armenian organizations in the Samtskhe-Javakhk region and the neighboring Kvemo-Kartili region, as well as federal and local Georgian authorities, foreign embassy staff, members of parliament, representatives of Georgian and foreign organizations that deal with human rights and minority issues and representatives of the president’s office.
Organizers underscored that the conference aimed to strengthen the position of Armenian members of the Georgian parliament representing the Javakhk region, who have not been successful in presenting or addressing the concerns of the Javakhk constituency within the legislature.
The draft resolution call for the formation of a federated Georgia, under article 3 of the country’s constitution, through which Samtskhe-Javakhk and the neighboring Kvemo-Kartili will become a state within the federation, and will be granted rights to self-government, education, representation in the federal government structure and other stipulations guaranteed by the constitution.
The meeting concluded with a decision that prior to the April 16 conference, representatives of the Armenian organizations would engage in grass-roots efforts to rally the Armenian community behind this resolution.
On the Eve of Protests
The news came a day before tens of thousands of supporters of Georgia’s 17 opposition parties took to the streets of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, calling for the resignation of President Mikhail Saakashvili.
Reports indicate that many members of the government were expected join the cause.
The war in August, when Russia crushed a Georgian assault on South Ossetia and sent tanks to within 40 km (25 miles) of Tbilisi, has emboldened critics who argue the president has made too many mistakes to stay in power until 2013, Reuters said.
The planned protests were scheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Soviet crackdown on independence demonstrators in Tbilisi. The opposition movement claimed that some 100,000 people took to the streets.
There is concern that protests are also planned in the Georgian secessionist region of Adjara, which rose up against and rejected Saakashvili’s government in 2004 after the Rose Revolution. Saakashvili supressed the region but analysts say the Adjarian’s still hold a grudge and are looking for the perfect time to rise up again. Adjara is home to the large port of Batumi and many of Georgia’s transport routes to Turkey run through it.
Georgia already officially lost its two northern secessionist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Russia during the August 2008 war and is highly concerned with its southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Russian troops had been reported entering Abkhazia’s Gali region since April 7.