GLENDALE–The international significance of Georgia’s Armenian-populated district of Javakhk was highlighted by Caucasus expert Richard Giragosian during a lecture held at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Catholic church hall Friday–organized by the Armenian Relief Society Javakhk Fund.
The speaker–who is also the editor of the TransCaucasus: A Chronology and the ARS representative at the UN–stressed the geopolitical importance of the region–given its significance as a route for passage of oil–gas and energy transport lines.
In his talk–Giragosian also discussed the frail economic conditions in Javakhk–and the imperative for the Diaspora to assist the Armenia’s there–in order to ensure clothing–food and other basic needs of the population.
Giragosian also provided a history of the region–saying that its location has prompted international powers to focus on that region within their diplomatic agenda.
However–Giraosian added that a recent IMF loan for $100,000 to Georgia–did not include at least $25 million for that economically ravaged part of the country.
The main industry in the region is the Russian military base in Akhalkalak–which employs a large percentage of the population. Georgia’s desire to close the Russian bases in Georgia has prompted lengthy discussion both with and outside of Armenian circles–regarding the economic fate of the Javakhk population.
This–coupled with a European Council precondition for membership–urging Georgia to resettle Meskheti Turks in the region–have opened the way for economic and social conflicts in the region.
Giragosian also discussed the recent deman’s by the Armenian population of Javakhk to become autonomous–and stressed that the population is not seeking cessation–but rather autonomous status with a Georgian Federation.
In Georgia–the regions of Abkhazia and Ossetia enjoy autonomy–but are under Georgian leadership.
In conclusion–Giragosian emphasized the importance of the ARS Javakhk fund and urged the community to support this effort–as a means to provide the Armenian population the necessary tools to overcome socio-economic obstacles in the region.