YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Deputy political representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Executive Council of Armenia–Armen Rustamian recently discussed the recent developmen’s in Javakhk and the Armenian-populated Akhalkalk region–with a Noyan Tapan correspondent. Below is the English-translated text of that interview
Noyan Tapan: Mr. Rustamian–the recent incident in Javakhk aroused different commentaries. How do you assess the current situation?
Armen Rustamian: We regard this as a provocation which was initiated by forces representing different political movemen’s. In particular–2-3 movemen’s connected with the developmen’s serve the basis for such a conclusion. As is known Georgia’s President Edward Shevardnadze still–when visiting Javakhk together with ex-president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan last year–promised the local public to notify the population beforehand if there would be any military exercise in the region and coordinate this military exercise with local authorities. Unfortunately–this agreement was violated again. The fact that Javakhk is a special region and calls for a subtle approach is not being considered.
It is also very strange that without conducting an appropriate investigation–certain hasty statemen’s of expressly stressed character were made on a rather high level. At the same time–these statemen’s are coming from such responsible officials who must be much more aware of these events. They–in my mind–create artificial tensions and make one think that there are far-reaching goals. All this gives us reason to suppose that we have a provocation that pursues certain political goals.
Noyan Tapan: What political goals are you talking about?
A.R.: There may be different political goals. There are forces to which a stable situation in Javakhk is not suitable–and it is these forces that initiated this with such goals.
Noyan Tapan: One of the leaders of the "Javakhk" People’s Movement Yervant Sherinian said that "our main target is for Georgian authorities to give the Akhalkalak region autonomy." What influence and consequences can similar statemen’s have?
A.R.: The display of the will of the population in Javakhk is important for us and we will support them–no matter what it may be. The statemen’s by separate persons–I think–are of private character–and it is not so much advisable to refer to similar statemen’s–as they can’t directly express the opinion of the population in Javakhk.
Noyan Tapan: Is it likely that Javakhk will demand autonomy today?
A.R.: As is known–the Parliament of Georgia is preparing to introduce changes in the Constitution of Georgia–as a result of which–Georgia will probably make a transition from a unitary state to a federative state. If it happens–then it is natural that the Armenian population of Javakhk will have the right to demand that the Armenian population of Javakhk should become one of the entities of the future Georgian Federation.
Noyan Tapan: Do you think that Javakhk will turn into the second Karabakh?
A.K: Such a probability–when problems are not solved in time–always arise in relations between nations. The Georgian state should create any possibility for the given issue to be given an appropriate constitutional resolution so that Armenian-Georgian relations should not be in danger. We are sure that when introducing amendmen’s to the Constitution of Georgia the need of giving autonomy to Javakhk is taken into account–it will not only aggravate the situation–but–on the contrary–will essentially promote closer relations between the two nations–further economic ties and strengthen peace–stability and security in the region.