JAVAKHK (A-Info)—The coordinator of the Council of Armenian Organizations (NGOs) of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Javakhk) and director of the A-Info news agency Artak Gabrielyan traveled to Brussels earlier this month and held meetings with key members of the European Parliament and other European Union officials.
During his visit to Brussels, Gabrielyan met with Euro-Parliament Vice-Speaker Yorghos Papastamakos (member of the Euro-Parliament South Caucasus delegation), Traian Ungureanu, member of the Euro-Parliament Committee of Foreign Relations and Andrey Kovachev, Vice-Chairman of Euro-Parliament Committee of Foreign Relations, Charles Tannock, member of the Euro-Parliament Committee on Foreign Relations and Human Rights and Jiri Mastalka, member of the Euro-Parliament Bureau and Euronest.
At these meetings, Gabrielyan introduced the plight of the Armenian community Javakhk, highlighting that his visit to Brussels comes as a result of the refusal of Georgian authorities to meet with representatives of the Javakhk Armenian community.
He also presented each person with a Memorandum to the European Parliament, which details the issues facing Javakhk and highlights demands that have been put forth by the Council of Armenian Organizations (NGOs) of Samtskhe-Javakhk.
The demands Samtskhe-Javakheti Armenians include:
1. Granting of autonomous territorial status (with its own directly elected assembly) to Samtskhe-Javakheti and the adjacent Armenian majority Tsalka district within a federal Georgia;
2. Allowing the use of the Armenian language in public administration in those municipalities―such as Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda―in which Armenians make up a majority; an unfulfilled accession commitment Georgia undertook when it joined the Council of Europe in 1999, namely the signing of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages;
3. Social and economic development projects for the region to bring it up to par with the rest of the country;
4. Improved Armenian representation in local and state institutions; and
5. An end to social engineering by the settlement of ethnic non-Armenians from other parts of the country in Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Gabrielyan also stressed that the Council wanted the European Union and Europe, in general, to be engaged in this process and to urge its ally, Georgia, to properly address the issues pertaining to Javakhk.
Gabrielyan was accompanied by members of the European Armenian Federation (ANC of Europe) Kaspar Karapetian and Bedo Demirdjian.