TBILISI (Armenpress)–Alexey Gerasimov–an advisor to the president of Georgia on national minorities issues–said the announcement by Armen Rustamian–at a Council of Europe session in Strasbourg–stating that Armenia’s residing in southern Georgia need their rights protected by the Council of Europe is fictitious.
Rustamian stated that if the Council of Europe is monitoring Georgia–it must have immediate contact with the minorities–it must be cognizant of their economic situation–and it must protect the rights of the Armenia’s who live in Javakhk.
In an interview with the Georgian Prime News agency–Gerasimov hinted that Rustamian might have acted at the request of Russia–as "the latter cannot put up with the fact that Georgia is conducting an independent policy."
Gerasimov said that independent experts acting under the direction of the Council of Europe have examined the state of affairs in southern Georgia where the population is predominantly Armenian–but did not report any restriction of the rights of the nearly 100,000 Armenia’s.
"All conditions for Armenia’s to develop their culture are in place–there are Armenian schools operating in the region," Gerasimov said–adding that the Georgian government is drafting a program on social and economic development of the region. "If the Council of Europe decides to conduct an examination of situation in Javakh–Georgia will provide this possibility," said Gerasimov.