AKHALKALAK (Armenpress)–Ethnic Armenian non-government organizations in Georgia’s southern region of Samtskhe Javakheti held their first joint conference last Saturday to discuss the numerous social–economic–and cultural problems that plague the region’s mostly Armenian population.
Although interested in working with the Georgian government to help alleviate some of the community’s problems–conference participants expressed concern over the central authorities’ desire to forcefully integrate the region with the rest of the population–stripping it of its Armenian character.
The conference outlined the nature of the crisis–its possible solutions–and moved to create a task force–which will seek to design development plans together with Georgian officials.
Of those invited–Georgian parliamentarians–foreign diplomats stationed in Georgia’s capital city–Armenian government officials–and representatives of the UN–OSCE–and European Commission–only the OSCE Tbilisi office representative joined conference participants. Ethnic Armenian parliamentarians who represent the region’s population also failed to attend the meeting.